My First Attempt at Tri Tip
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I’ve tried beef tri tip a couple of times and loved it. When I saw some on sale at the grocery store, I decided to give it a try. I looked online for some cooking methods, found one suitable and away I went!

I got the grill going hot with some mesquite lump charcoal. I rubbed the tri tip heavy with Cowboy Rub from McCormick.

I put the meat on a hot fire and got a good sear on both sides (about 7 minutes per side). I then threw another section into the smoker and finished it at 250 degrees or so, until the inside temp of the meat hit medium-rare.

I let the meat rest and then sliced it up. I gotta say – I love tri tip and this was one of the best things I have cooked in awhile!!

Honestly, my temperature probe was on the fritz and by the time I had pulled the meat and let it rest, it was closer to medium than rare. Didn’t seem to matter much though. It was tender and flavorful!

Yummy Brussels Sprouts from Tasty Licks BBQ
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I’ve reviewed some products from Tasty Licks before – they make some goooood stuff. Brussels Sprouts are hit or miss for me. Here’s a good recipe!

Arizona BBQ Festival Fast Approaching
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The Arizona BBQ Festival is coming! It looks like, in addition to great food they have a whole bunch of cool activities going on!

WHAT?
The Arizona BBQ Festival is the largest Honky Tonk in the state of Arizona! There’s live bands, hilarious “redneck themed” games, more beer and booze than you can handle, and (literally) tons of smoked meat like brisket, chicken, pulled pork, ribs, and all the fixin’s.
WHEN?
Saturday April 5, 2014
11am-8pm

WHERE?
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Here’s a map: MAP!

HOW MUCH TO GET IN?
General Admission: $12
VIP: $60*
Kids 12 & under: free
Parking: free
*$75 at the gate

WHAT’S THAT GET ME?
An incredible line-up of live bands, actual wrestling shows, cooking demonstrations, participation in any of the 12+ Redneck Games, and access to tons of BBQ and really fun bars to party at.

GOT SOMETHIN’ IN YOUR TEETH?
Pick up a free toothpick at our Info Booth!

PETS
Sorry, no dogs allowed except hot ones covered in relish and celery salt.

KIDS ZONE
We know it takes a village to entertain kids under 12, so we build a small village of bouncies, rides, games, and other fun attractions. Some of these activities may cost a nominal fee (that’s why kids get in free). Hey, we just rhymed!

Chipotle Rub and Garland Jack’s Sauce
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Wanting to fire up the smoker (which I hadn’t done for awhile) I purchased some chicken thighs which always turn out great. I sprinkled them fairly well on both sides with Chipotle BBQ rub from Knox’s Spice Co. These folks make some amazing products!

I got the smoker lit and humming at 225, and put in the thighs. Not having any “unusual” sauces to try, I did have a bottle of Garland Jack’s Secret Six Sweet Brown Sugar Sauce, which I thought would go nicely with the zing of the chipotle. The sauce was a good thickness, and it was indeed brown sugary. I had just picked up the sauce at a local grocery store on sale. The Chipotle Rub was fresh and smoky and flavorful, with great heat.

I let the chicken get about 1/2 or 3/4 of the way done and then I started basting them with sauce.

This chicken was awesome. As I had hoped, the chipotle rub went well with the sweet BBQ sauce!

A word of caution and a rookie mistake! I always let the smoker open up in the final stages to try and get a bit of a crisp on the chicken. My smoker is on our patio in full view of the living room, and partial view of the kitchen. Those chicken thighs were very fatty, and I had a lot of fat accumulate in the water pan. I don’t use water in my water pan, but a clay flower pot which seems to work well. Anyway, after dinner I went out to clean up and the paint was all gray and burned off of the top middle section (I had left the lid off).Black paint was on the patio surrounding the smoker. Clearly the fat had flashed and created a hot, brief fire. I was none the wiser the whole time, eating in the kitchen. Kind of scary. Don’t leave your smoker unattended and/or out of view!

A New Twist On Chili Sauce – Pod Rico
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I was running some errands and there was an outdoor festival going on at the local Basha’s. I usually enjoy perusing things like this so I walked around and talked to all of the local vendors. Then I ran into Nez Camarena who was doling out samples of his chili sauce. Nez is the owner of Pod-Rico chili sauces. Well, of course I tried all 3 and I must say they are awesome!

All natural, local Pod Rico Chili Sauce

This sauce is good on tortilla chips, but I think it could be used on almost anything. I’m going to slow cook some pork loin in a crockpot, slathered in Pod Rico. He offers mild, medium and hot. The mild sauce is a green chili sauce. All are fresh, rich and flavorful. There’s a catch though – no lingering heat. Through a family secret, there is really no linger, no after taste in these sauces. There’s a burst of flavor while it’s rolling around in your mouth, and then it is gone until the next bite! It’s kind of cool!

Fresh, natural ingredients

Look for more information on Nez and his products in the future. Go ahead and contact them. You’ll be supporting a local company, and buying a great product! In the meantime, LIKE them on Facebook!

Dry Rubbed Rat Update
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Well, if you hadn’t noticed, I hit a wall! I haven’t put anything on any of my sites for a bit. That being said, I changed jobs, changed attitudes and have a new outlook on life! Look for me to post more regularly both here and on my sister site as well Desert Rat Outdoors.

So, look for some reviews, some adventures in outdoor cooking, interviews with interesting folks and information on awesome products – in the weeks ahead!

~ The Dry Rubbed Rat

Christmas Ideas
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Wow – sorry I have been a stranger but I’m working on my degree, bill-paying job is busy, and I have a bunch of stuff on the go. I promise I’ll do better! (Side note: need to fill my queue with products for product reviews and interesting people/businesses for interviews. Contact me!)

That being said, I climbed out of chaos long enough to make some recommendations for the the cooks in your lives. I have reviewed some awesome stuff on here, and there are a few “friends of the site” that provide some kickass products.

Without further ado – here are some Christmas recommendations.

Cutlery and Sharpeners – Friend Daniel Clay over at Mad Cow Cutlery has an amazing array of knives sharpeners and other kitchen tools at great prices, kits, you name it. These folks know knives and will be able to provide lots of advice and insight, if you have questions! To help you out, they already have a page set up for Christmas Ideas!

Spices and more – Good friend Chef Denny Corriveau makes some of the freshest, most flavorful spice and herb blends, oils, brines and other cooking essentials you will ever run across. Wild Cheff products are intended and created for wild game especially, but will work well with whatever you have going on in your kitchen! The Wild Cheff develops these products himself and quality is the key! Visit the Wild Cheff website today!

Great variety of products – Has to go to Uncle Dougies! Although I’m bummed they dropped their Jalapeno Mustard, they do carry a big variety of great products! Their small batch ketchup will change the way you think about ketchup, forever! Their Bloody Mary Mixes are to die for and their wing marinade is the best I have had.They make a variety of premium hot sauces as well – I have tried them all, and they are all spot on in freshness and flavor. They make Christmas shopping easy with their Gift Boxes and Corporate Gifts as well!

Most Interesting Sauce – It has to be Uncle Joe’s. This sauce comes in a mix. You add ketchup and water, heat and use! You can see it in action here: Uncle Joe’s Review

Best Sauce Overall?Rufus Teague has to be one of the best I have tried. Rich and complex, it is seriously, an amazing sauce. You can visit them here: Rufus Teague website

Cookbooks? – That’s easy – Hank Shaw. Hunt.Gather.Cook is a great resource, and you will learn to utilize every part of the critter.I haven’t read it yet, butDuck,Duck,Goose is getting great reviews. Especially for you waterfowlers out there, I would recommend it.

Brines – Brines are just starting to catch on, I think. The Wild Cheff (above) makes some, but so does Sweetwater Spice Company. My favorite was the Jalapeno Lime, but they make an Apple Chipotle brine that is killer. See my interview with Sweetwater’s Scott Sapire here: Sweetwater Interview

Don’t see anything that grabs you? I can honestly say that I haven’t tested a product yet, that I didn’t enjoy. Feel free to peruse the site for other great ideas.

Most important – Merry Christmas!

The Ultimate Way to Grill Shrimp
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I’m a subscriber of Men’s Health magazine and they have some pretty good e-mail newsletters as well. Recently they sent this one on grilling shrimp and it looks awesome!

The Ultimate Way To Grill Shrimp

Don’t miss this crucial step when cooking the shellfish

BY PAUL KITA, AUGUST 12, 2013

Of all the grilling tools—tongs, spatulas, steak forks—there’s one that too often goes neglected.

For most grillers, the season passes without them ever breaking out the basting brush. It’s understandable, considering that the basting brush can be tough to clean and offers one additional piece of hardware you need to shuttle out to the grill. But a basting brush is a beautiful thing—a tool that can make your food juicier and more succulent.

Take the example of the grilled shrimp that follows. Shrimp has a tendency to dry out on the grill, turning tough instead of tender when cooked too long. Basting the shrimp with a mixture of olive oil, white wine, garlic, and oregano protects the protein from the harsher heat of the flames.

The result: intensely flavorful shrimp that burst with juiciness.

Grilled Shrimp Oreganato
Recipe by Frank Pellegrino, author of Rao’s On the Grill

What you’ll need:
¼ cup olive oil
3 Tbsp minced garlic
½ cup finely chopped fresh oregano
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, thinly sliced
¼ cup dry white wine
16 colossal (U-16) shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tail segment left attached
½ tsp kosher salt
½ freshly ground black pepper
4 metal grilling skewers (or 4 long bamboo skewers soaked in water for 1 hour, drained)
4 Tbsp plain dried breadcrumbs
Chopped fresh oregano for garnish
2 lemons, quartered

How to do it? Sorry, I don’t want to do a total lame-o copy & paste repost….

You can visit the Men’s Health website to see the rest of the recipe!

Ketchup From Heaven
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Awhile back, the good folks from Uncle Dougies contacted me and asked to send me some new products to review. You may recall that in the past, I was really enamored with Uncle Dougie’s wing sauce.

Anyway, Doug sent me some really cool looking products (reviews coming!). One of the products was Tomato Heaven – a “small batch ketchup”

Now at first, I’m thinking “ooooooooh – ketchup”. But I have to tell you, this was amazing! It is rich, and thick and chunky. It has just the tiniest hint of BBQ. Just enough to note, but in no way does it take over. My wife loved it too and we use it on everything.

Honestly, if you’re already a ketchup aficionado, you are going to love this. If you’re not, and you think “ketchup is ketchup”….. oh, you poor, unsuspecting fool. Try Tomato Heaven. Seriously. On your burgers, on your scrambled eggs, whatever. It’s not too sweet, it’s not too salty. It has fresh tomato flavor, and lots of hints of other flavors too. You won’t be disappointed. I promise…

Dizzy Pig Products – More than BBQ
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Last year I wrote a post about Swamp Venom from Dizzy Pig BBQ.

I’ve continued to use their products and I can’t say enough about them. They are fresh, flavorful and everyone is unique. I have embarked on change of eating habits which means (usually) lean protein and veggies (down 18 pounds so far!)

That means I need something quick and easy for lunches, etc. I have been picking up Mahi Burgers, Salmon Burgers and Turkey Burgers from Costco.

Enter Dizzy Pig – my lean protein burgers are usually liberally sprinkled with spices from Dizzy Pig BBQ. Although I like to mix it up, my turkey burgers often are hit with Jamaican Firewalk. This is bright, has some heat and really lifts up the turkey burger.

The Mahi Burgers are often dusted with Pineapple Head and the salmon is usually hit with Shakin the Tree or even Tsunnami Spin. Dizzy Pig products really make these bland old burgers dance and I look forward to eating them this way, usually without condiments or a bunch of stuff on the side.

Dizzy Pig has a bunch of cool products so be sure to check them out. I’m sure you’ll find a couple that you love!