Tag Archives: beer

Grilled Beer-Butt Chicken and Tortilla Pizzas

8 Jun
Grilled Pesto Chicken Margherita Pizza

Grilled Pesto Chicken Margherita Pizza

I just love grilling season! Today I present to you several scrumptious selections for summertime suppers. (How’s that for alliteration?) Two of my main attractions are not really recipes, but methodology, as the ingredients and seasonings are entirely up to you.

We’ve been grilling beer-butt chicken for many years, and every time we do we are always, ALWAYS, so pleased with how tender the meat is and how yummy-crispy the skin turns out. Seasonings of choice this time included fresh tarragon and sliced lemons. My tarragon plant has gone gangbusters once again, towering at about 18-inches tall and a foot wide. I told hubby to mince the leaves from a couple of sprigs (stalks?) for the outside seasoning and then also stuff the chicken with a couple more whole stalks with the lemons.

We rounded out the meal with some homemade dill potato salad and fresh corn on the cob, also cooked outside on the grill’s propane stove ring. And, of course, we ate outside on the deck under gloriously sunny skies. (At least for the first night of grilling. The next evening was another story.)

Dilled Potato Salad

Dilled Potato Salad

Grilled Beer-Butt Chicken

1 whole chicken
1 12-0unce can of beer, any kind
Vegetable oil
Seasonings, herbs, fruit of choice

Wash the chicken thoroughly inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken all over with vegetable oil, then season generously with seasonings and herbs of choice. Stuff the inside of the chicken lightly with more herbs and some slices of fruit. You can use lemon, lime, orange, or even apple! But don’t stuff too much in there because remember you have a can of beer that goes up in there too.

Drink half the beer (or poor down the drain if you don’t drink alcohol) then place it on the counter. Take the chicken and grab it by the legs, and shove it right over the beer can until it’s about halfway inserted into the cavity and the legs can touch the counter. Ta-Dah!

Tarragon and Lemon Beer-Butt Chicken

Tarragon and Lemon Beer-Butt Chicken

Preheat the grill on high for about 15 minutes, and then turn the inside burners off so that you will be cooking with indirect heat. For charcoal grills, move the coals to the outside perimeter of the grill after they are burning red. Lay a pan or a sheet of foil in the middle under the grate to catch drips. Now carefully pick the chicken and the beer can up, making sure the can doesn’t slip out.

Place the beer-butt chicken on the center of the grill, arranging the legs to make a tripod so that it balances upright. Cover the grill and cook indirectly for about and hour, maybe a little more, depending on your grill’s heat.

Removing the Chicken from Grill

Removing the Chicken from Grill

Remove from the grill, take out the can, and place the chicken on a platter and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with sides of choice.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

If you have a small family like me, we always have leftover chicken when we cook a whole one and I’m always faced with the dilemma of how to use the leftover chicken. I had been wanting to try my hand at grilling a pizza but for some reason it intimidated me. What on earth was I thinking??? Grilled pizza is easy-peasy, especially when you use flour tortillas for the crust. I’m a huge fan of thin-crust pizza and flour tortillas make the best thin crust I think I’ve ever had.

Pesto Chicken Margherita Pizza

Pesto Chicken Margherita Pizza

My husband thought the idea of grilled tortilla pizza was a little strange, so he opted to eat the same meal from the night before from the leftovers. My daughter jumped right in and made herself a traditional pepperoni pizza, while I on the other hand went for a chicken Margherita-type pizza. Let me tell you it was divine! I gave my husband a bite and he was so surprised how good it was. In fact, we are going to use up the last of the chicken tonight and grill pizzas again! This time I’m also going to make a taco-style pizza in addition to the chicken. Just think of the endless possibilities!

Grilled Tortilla Pizzas

Traditional Pepperoni
10-inch flour tortilla
Marinara sauce (from a jar or homemade)
Pizza-blend shredded cheese
Pepperoni slices

Grilling the Pepperoni Pizza

Grilling the Pepperoni Pizza

Pesto Chicken Margherita Pizza
10-inch flour tortilla
Pesto sauce (I used store-bought)
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Shredded cooked chicken
1 tomato, sliced
Fresh basil, ribboned

Preheat grill to medium heat. Spray or lightly brush one side of the tortilla with oil, then grill oil-side down for about 3 minutes. Remove from grill and lightly oil the other side of the tortilla. Spread sauce of choice on the cooked side of the tortilla, then top with cheese and other toppings. Place back on grill, cover, and cook until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Remove, slice, and serve immediately. Molto deliziosa!

Pesto Chicken Margherita Pizza Ready to Grill

Pesto Chicken Margherita Pizza Ready to Grill

Last night when we were grilling, the sun was still out but we were overshadowed by thick plumes of smoke from two wildfires that burst out about 6 miles east of us in the forest. My thoughts and prayers go out to the firefighters for their safety and to all the evacuees who must be so frightened about the possibility of losing their homes.

Two Bulls Fire from Back Deck

View of Two Bulls Fire from our Back Deck

 

 

 

Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

26 Jan
Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

Some days I go on a cooking binge. I can’t help myself! I suddenly have lots of things I want to make and eat, and yesterday was one of those days. Countless hours of dashing around the kitchen, every measuring device in use, pots, pans, bowls, sticky messes covering all countertops. But when it’s all said and done, I’m tired, happy, and full. And have sore feet.

I had two missions to accomplish yesterday: One, was to concoct a fancy dessert (not my forté as you know) from scratch for an online cooking competition using three required ingredients. (You will get to read about that next week.) Second, was to finally try my hand at making carnitas, which is a Mexican dish of slow-braised pork and then broiled up into crispy bits of yumminess. I added a third mission later in the game and pickled up some spicy red onions to accompany the carnitas tacos. Whoa! Talk about a game changer. My photos don’t do that condiment justice. After my first bite, I went back and mounded way more pickled onions into my tacos. Delish!

Spicy Pickled Red Onions

Spicy Pickled Red Onions

I did learn a couple of things yesterday during all this though. You really should use a cut of pork butt or shoulder that has lots of fat and marbling in it. I only had some country-style boneless pork ribs, and they didn’t have near enough fat to render so had to add a little vegetable oil during the rendering process. I also figured out that by pouring some chicken or beef broth over the pork just before the broiling process lessened the dryness of the pork since it didn’t have the required fat in it. Lessons learned, but it was still incredibly tasty! We have plenty of leftover carnitas for use in either more tacos, burritos, or perhaps even a stew or chili? We shall see what becomes of the rest of the meat, now won’t we? Now on to the recipes!

Spiced-Up Pork and Juices

Spiced-Up Pork and Juices

Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

For the Carnitas:
3 pounds pork butt or shoulder, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
Juice of 4 or 5 limes (about 1/4 cup)
Juice of 1 large orange (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon Ancho chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
Ground black pepper, to taste
About a half a bottle or can of beer
Vegetable oil, if needed
About 1 cup chicken or beef broth, if needed
Cotijo cheese, avocado, spicy pickled red onions, cilantro, and lime wedges, for garnish

For the Spicy Pickled Red Onions
1/2 large red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
6 or 7 thin slices of fresh jalapeno
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic

Add the pork, juices, and spices to a dutch oven and cover with water to just cover the pork. Bring to a boil, then turn down low to simmer for at two hours. About halfway through simmering, I added a half a can of beer. Why, you ask? Because it was in my hand and seemed like a good idea. Did it make any difference? I have no idea, lol!

Simmering Pork

Simmering Pork

While the pork is simmering, you can make the pickled onions. Add all the ingredients to a glass jar, microwave uncovered for 45 seconds, cover with lid, and refrigerate until ready to use. Easy peasy!

After two hours, turn up the heat to medium high and cook the pork for about a half hour longer, until all the liquid is gone and the pork begins frying in its own fat. Or, if your pork doesn’t have enough fat, then add a little vegetable oil at this point to help it along.

Crispy Carnitas

Crispy Carnitas

Once the pork starts looking crispy and browned, remove it from the heat. Add the meat in one layer to a foil-lined baking sheet, pour about a half cup of chicken or beef broth over it, then put it in the oven on broil for 5 or so minutes. Remove the pan, turn pork over with a spatula, then add a little more broth over it. Return to oven and broil about 5 more minutes. Remove from oven, and serve immediately over corn tortillas warmed up in a dry skillet, with cotijo cheese, avocado, spicy pickled red onions, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Cinco de Mayo Charro, or “Borracho” Beans

3 May
Charro, or Borracho Beans

Charro, or Borracho Beans

I spent a good amount of time the other night cooking almost five pounds of burger and over a pound of ground turkey to make the taco filling for my employer’s Cinco de Mayo Taco Bar Potluck. For some insane reason, I also signed up to make some Charro beans for the potluck portion. The team I’m on pitches in all the taco makings (such as the taco meats I cooked), and since I’m on the organizing team I really didn’t have to do that. But I did. So there I was, all in a sweat after work, with four to five pots and pans cooking a variety of ingredients at the same time.  I posted this recipe over a year ago embedded within my Grilled Tri-Tip Steak recipe, so thought I’d dredge it back up for you so you can take a gander at it and see if this is something you would like to make for your own Cinco de Mayo fest! I tried to clarify my directions from a year ago, so I hope that helps.

This is a tried and true Tex-Mex recipe. These beans are served all over the Austin area, but I’ve found nary a restaurant serving this in my dinky Pacific Northwest town. In a nutshell, they are dried pinto beans cooked for a long time with a spicy tomato-chile mixture, along with bacon or some kind of pork. My version reduces the cooking time greatly by using a pressure cooker. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, increase the cooking time by several hours, adding water as needed. The difference between Charro beans and Borracho beans is that you add a bottle of Mexican beer to the the Charro beans. Borracho means “drunk” in Mexican, lol. Enjoy!

Cinco de Mayo Charro, or “Borracho” Beans

2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
2 cups homemade or low salt chicken broth (or sub all water)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 slices cooked bacon, chopped (or 2 tablespoons bacon bits)
1 can Ro*Tel tomatoes (or diced tomatoes and green chiles)
Black pepper to taste
1 bottle or can of beer (preferably Mexican)
Large handful of cilantro, chopped, and more for garnish

Dried Pinto Beans

Dried Pinto Beans (Soaked and Rinsed)

After soaking and rinsing the beans overnight, add them to a pressure cooker with the chicken broth and enough water to cover the beans by an inch or so. Cover the pot with its lid tightly with the pressure regulator on top, and heat over medium high heat until the regulator begins to rock. Turn the heat down until regulator is rocking gently, then cook for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the oil, garlic, and bacon to a heated skillet and saute until the onion starts to get translucent. Add the can of Ro*Tel tomatoes and grind a bunch of  black pepper over it, cook for about five minutes longer, then set aside.

After the beans have cooked 25 minutes, take the pot off the heat and let the pressure reduce on its own. Do  not cool it by running under water, as you will have to let the pressure come down naturally or you will have a foaming mess on your hands. This will take about 15 or 20 minutes. When you can open the lid easily, stir in the tomato mixture, and beer (if using). Take a potato masher or the back of a spoon and smoosh some of the beans to help thicken up the broth. Cook  for another half hour or so.

Garnish with additional cilantro,  if you prefer. This makes a mess of beans, but they are so yummy you’ll find they will disappear quickly. Eat them in a taco or burrito, or sop them up with tortilla chips. These taste even better the next day, too.  Olé!

Grilled Tri-Tip Steak and Charro Beans

1 May
Tri-tip and Drunken Charro Beans

Tri-tip and Drunken Charro Beans

I had it in my mind to cook some dried pinto beans in my pressure cooker on Sunday, and as luck would have it my husband had it in his mind to grill a tri-tip steak during the absolutely beautiful spring weather we had this past weekend. They paired together beautifully for a scrumptious dinner served with a side salad.  The process to cook this dinner started Saturday evening, as you’ll need to marinate the steak and soak the beans overnight.  Although cooking dried beans in a pressure cooker reduces the cooking time vastly, you really do need to soak them overnight then rinse them thoroughly to reduce the foaming and sputtering (and potentially dangerous situation) caused by the natural release of starches and gasses. The recipe for the beans can also be cooked over the stove top, but you’ll have to increase the cooking time to several hours.

Marinated Tri-Tip Steak

1 or 2 pounds tri-tip steak (also called roast)
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Original Blend

Tri Tip Steak Resting

Let that steak rest!

Combine all the ingredients in a glass or rubber container with lid, big enough to fit the tri-tip. Whisk really well, then add the steak and flip around on both sides to cover it in the mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, turning the steak several times the next day. A few hours before grilling, take the steak out and set on a plate and cover with plastic wrap to let the steak come to room temperature. Grill on high heat for about 5-10 minutes each side until a meat thermometer registers between 125-135 for medium rare. The trick to having this come out perfect in the end is to let the steak rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. After resting, carve across the grain into thin serving slices.

Dried Pinto Beans

Dried Pinto Beans (Soaked and Rinsed)

Charro (or Drunken) Beans

2 cups dried pinto beans
2 cups homemade or low salt chicken broth
Water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 slices cooked bacon, chopped (or bacon bits)
1 can Rotel tomatoes (or diced tomatoes and green chiles)
Black pepper to taste
1 bottle or can of beer (preferably Mexican)
2 sprigs of cilantro, and more for garnish

After soaking and rinsing the beans overnight, add them to a pressure cooker with the chicken broth and enough water to cover the beans by an inch or so. Cover the pot with its lid tightly with the pressure regulator on top, and heat over medium high heat until the regulator begins to rock. Turn the heat down until regulator is rocking gently, then cook for 25 minutes.

Rotel Tomatoes, Onion, and Bacon

Rotel Tomatoes, Onion, and Bacon

Meanwhile, add the oil, garlic, and bacon to a heated skillet and saute until the onion starts to get translucent. Add the can of tomatoes and black pepper, and cook for about five minutes longer and set aside. After the beans have cooked 25 minutes, take the pot off the heat and let the pressure reduce on its own. Do  not cool it by running under water, you will have to let the pressure come down naturally or you will have a foaming mess on your hands. When you can open the lid easily, stir in the tomato mixture and the rest of the ingredients and cook again according to the above directions for another 25 minutes. (If you have two or three fresh Roma tomatoes and serrano chiles on hand, you can chop them and substitute for the Rotel tomatoes.) Once you can open the lid easily again, add the tomato mixture and give it a good stir, and your beans are ready to serve! Garnish with additional cilantro,  if you prefer. This makes a mess of beans, but they are so yummy you’ll find they will disappear quickly. These taste even better the next day, too.

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