Saturday, June 25, 2022

Reverse Sear, Smoked Tomahawk Steak


The Tomahawk Steak has become my favorite thing to grill this summer. These steaks are everywhere. Both Costco and my local grocery store have them on display. It features my favorite cut of steak, the Bone-In Rib Eye. And it makes it all fancy by frenching the bone.

The meat typically runs about 3-inches you can't just cook them up like a regular steak. Meat this thick needs to be cooked low and slow, so that the entire steak is gently brought up to 125º at the same time. While you can certainly do that in an oven, using a pellet smoker to bring it up to temperature infuses the meat with incredible flavor, thanks to the smoke from oak and mesquite.

To ensure that the steak cooks evenly, I put it on the kitchen counter a good 5 hours before my cook. If you leave it in the fridge, the cold center is going to throw off all of your cooking. You want the entire steak at room temperature before you hit the smoker.

Salt it generously when you take it out. Hit both sides and the outer rim with the salt. Then season it again with salt and pepper right before it hits the smoker. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding the bone. This is a precision cook and you are going to pull the steak at precisely 125º.

Once you've hit that temp, you are going to sear the meat. Remove the steak and crank up your smoker to high, then sear 4 minutes per side over the fire box. If your smoker doesn't get over 500º, then use your grill or a cast iron pan on your stovetop to sear. Rest the steak 10 minutes, where it will gently raise the temp to a little under 135º, a perfect medium rare.... then start cutting off your little slices of heaven.

1 Tomahawk steak, 2-1/2 to 4 pounds
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

  1. Five hours prior to cooking, remove steak from refrigerator and place on a wire rack over a sheet pan or foil. Salt generously on all 3 sides. Let steak come to room temperature.
  2. Pre-heat your pellet smoker to 225º approximately 30 minutes before you cook. I use oak and mesquite use whatever you choose.
  3. Right before you put the meat in the smoker, season it again with the salt and pepper. Insert meat thermometer in the steak and place in smoker. 
  4. Depending on the size of your steak, it should take  about 30 to 60 minutes to hit the 125º temperature goal. When it does, pull steak, tent with foil and let it rest while you crank up your smoker to high.
  5. When your smoker is at 500º +, place steak directly over fire box and sear 4 minutes per side. 
  6. Pull steak and tent with foil. Let it rest 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Spicy Grilled Pork Kabobs


Don't let the ingredient list intimidate you. This is a really easy, really quick recipe....perfect for a weeknight dinner. While the marinade ingredient list is indeed long, there's really no work involved. It's a simple "dump everything in a food processor" and pulse until it's liquified. The marinating time is just 30 minutes, which is all the time you need to get a ripping hot fire on your grill. And then just 6 to 8 minutes to cook it all up.


For the Pork
1-1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
Kosher salt

For the marinade
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 bunch cilantro (include stems)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed
1 teaspoon honey
1-1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoons coriander seeds

For Serving/Garnish
1 small red onion, sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro
Lime wedges

  1. Season pork chunks lightly with kosher salt and put it in a Ziplock bag.
  2. Put all marinade ingredients in a food processor and pulse until liquefied. Pour marinade over pork and seal bag. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  4. Thread pork onto skewers, leaving a little space between the chunks. Grill directly over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Then flip and grill for another 3 to 4 minutes. Meat should be browned all over and charred in spots (cooked to medium with no pink).
  5. Serve the pork with cilantro sprigs and onion slices on top and lime wedges for squeezing.

Wine pairing: Zinfandel

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Gỏi gà (Vietnamese Chicken Salad)


This is a great weeknight meal for those times you don't feel like cooking. If you do want to cook, grilling up a couple of chicken breasts is no big deal. An easier option would be to just grab a rotisserie chicken and shred up some breast meat. My local grocery store, Jerry's, makes it even easier. Whenever they have leftover rotisserie chickens, they cut each of them up into 8 pieces and sell them the next day as oven roasted cold chicken. 

Then there's the veggie part. Since I'm already being lazy by not cooking, I add to my laziness by buying shredded cabbage and carrots. That means my vegetable knife is only needed for slicing red onion and chopping cilantro.  Now that's easy!

The only difficult ingredient in this recipe is the fried shallot, which is an important pantry item if you are big on Vietnamese cooking. Actually fried shallot or fried red onion will work...readily available online or any Asian grocery. Now these are not the breaded variety like French's Fried Onions. They are made by simply frying the raw vegetables in hot oil. That is actually easy to do if you are so inclined. They add a delicious crunch to the salad. But again, I prefer the lazy way, so I buy mine in bulk from


For the Salad
1/2 medium red onion, cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cooked, chilled and shredded
1/2 medium green cabbage (about 20 ounces), shredded
1 large carrot, shredded or julienned (4 to 6 ounces)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, stems and leaves, chopped
3/4 cup fried shallots

For the Dressing
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large lime, juiced (2-1/2 tablespoons of juice required)
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar

  1. Pickle the onion. Combine red onion and rice vinegar in a bowl. Mix well and let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Place pickled onion in a large salad bowl and discard leftover rice wine vinegar.
  3. Add all other salad ingredients to bowl and toss.
  4. Make the dressing. Combine all dressing ingredients in a  small bowl. Whisk to mix throughly until all sugar is dissolved.
  5. Pour dressing over salad and toss thoroughly to mix. Then serve.

Wine pairing: Sauvignon Blanc

Friday, June 3, 2022

Emily Blunt's English Roasted Potatoes


I became a big fan of Emily Blunt after I saw her in the remake of "Mary Poppins". Loved her in "A Quiet Place" and A Quiet Place 2". Imagine my surprise to learn that Ina Garten loves Emily Blunt for her English Roasted Potatoes Recipe. You will, too.

Bloggers Note: For those of you subscribed to my blog, I apologize that you were sent the recipe again. However, the original post became corrupt and I had to rewrite it. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Kosher salt
3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut to 1-1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Coarse sea salt
Minced parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 425º.
  2. Bring a large pot of water with 2 tablespoons kosher salt to a boil.  Add the potatoes, return to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 8 minutes.  Drain the potatoes, place them back in the pot with the lid on, and shake the pot roughly for 5 seconds to rough up the edges.  Carefully transfer the potatoes in one layer to a baking rack set over a sheet pan.  Set aside to dry for at least 15 minutes.  (They can sit at room temperature for several hours or in the fridge for up to 6 hours.)
  3. Pour the oil onto another sheet pan, tilt the pan to distribute the oil, and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the oil is smoking hot.  Transfer the potatoes carefully into the oil ( use a large metal spatula) and toss them lightly to coat each potato with the hot oil. Lower the oven temperature to 350º. Roast for 45 minutes to one hour, turning the potatoes occasionally with tongs, until very browned and crisp on the outside and tender and creamy inside.
  4. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle generously with 1½ to 2 teaspoons sea salt and parsley and serve hot.