Sea Scallops

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This is a hard-to-beat dinner for those of us who love scallops! I buy dry-packed scallops, which are a better choice than wet-packed ones, since the wet ones have more water content making it harder to get a good sear. Locally I always purchase my scallops from John & Sheila Lester at Duggan’s Seafood Truck (in the DeVille Plaza parking lot – Thursdays and Fridays only). They are fresh & dry-packed, but are kinda pricey (around $20 lb), so you may not want to feed a crowd with these. ūüôā These scallops are so fresh that if vacuum-sealed and frozen, they taste fresh even months to years later when thawed and cooked (not recommended, but sometimes things get¬†found in the freezer – actually, the ones in the picture had October 2014 date on them).

The key to a good sear is a¬†very dry scallop, so be obsessive about patting them dry on all sides with a paper towel before searing! Butter makes for a good sear, but for anyone avoiding butter, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) works as well. ¬†All fresh scallops need for seasoning is a light sprinkle of salt and fresh ground black pepper – one doesn’t want to overshadow their natural sweet taste.

I use a dry ceramic skillet over a medium-hot burner (a flick of water should quickly evaporate), but any non-coated heavy skillet will work. One can either brush the scallops with melted butter (or EVOO), then salt & pepper before searing, or add a small amount of butter (EVOO) in the skillet and add the S&P while they cook.

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Place the scallops in the hot skillet spaced evenly apart (do not crowd – try to leave a ‘clean’ spot to flip each one for searing the opposite side. If the first scallop doesn’t sizzle when placed in the skillet, wait a little longer for the skillet to get hotter. After about 2 minutes lift with tongs or a thin spatula. If they resist, give them another 30 sec and try again – they should lift easily when the sear is done. Flip to a fresh spot and sear another 2-3 minutes. You want the center barely opaque – DO NOT OVERCOOK or they will get rubbery. Better to be a little on the rare side (they will continue to cook after removed from the skillet). If you have an instant read thermometer, they are done at 120* (minimum) to 140*.

Important note about scallops: They cook so quickly, all side dishes should be done and the table set before the scallops are seared! In the picture below they were served with rutabaga fries and sautéed Asian green beans.

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Enjoy!!

Misippi Egger
(Clark Ethridge)

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Serves 2

Ingredients
1 pound dry-packed scallops
1 T melted butter or EVOO
Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions:
(1) Remove the tough white ‘foot’ from each scallop (if present).
(2) Pat scallops very dry with a paper towel, then brush both sides of each scallop with melted butter (or EVOO) and add a light coating of salt & pepper. (Alternative is to add the butter or EVOO to the heating skillet).
(3)¬†When a heavy gauge, non-coated skillet is ready¬†over a medium-hot burner (a drop of water quickly evaporates), place each scallop in the skillet, spaced wide enough apart to be able to flip them to a ‘clean’ spot.
(4) After 2 minutes flip them with tongs of a thin spatula. If they don’t come loose easily, give them another 30 seconds or so before flipping. Flip to a clean spot in the skillet and sear another 2-3 minutes, until the center is barely opaque – DO NOT OVERCOOK. It’s better to be on the undercooked side – they will cook a little more after being removed from the skillet.
(5) Plate and serve immediately.

Pork tenderloin steaks

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Plain pork tenderloins and loins have not been Jana’s favorite because they are often¬†bland or even dry. In the past I have stuffed them with a variety of ingredients. Since the stuffing retains moisture and adds internal flavor, they have been acceptable.

A couple of months ago I purchased some packets of pork tenderloins from Sam’s Club (their pork is not injected with water or salt solutions, like most grocery store brands). ¬†These packets weigh about 2 pounds and have 2 tenderloins per pack. After a bit of Internet research I came up with this recipe. Jana said it was perfect¬†and was definitely a “do over”!

The keys to this recipe are two-fold: (1) A flavor brine, and (2) flattening the cut tenderloins with a meat mallet or the edge of a heavy glass. According to Cooks Illustrated one can increase the surface area of a¬†filleted pork tenderloin by 33% by pounding out the rounded surface. More surface area equals more surface in contact with the grill and the benefits of caramelizing the exterior of the ‘steak’.

Pork Brine: ¬†A 5-8% solution of salt in water is a basic brine. One can use the brine alone or add rubs, herbs, or other flavors that will be infused into the meat along with the salt. The penetration of the moisture and flavors into the meat is dependent on the time in the brine and the thickness of the meat. The easiest way to make salt solutions of different percents is using metric measurements. 50 gm (by weight) of salt in 1 liter (1000 gm weight) of water is 5%. Since most of us don’t have scales that weigh in grams, the closest “English” formula is to use 1/4 cup of Morton¬†Kosher salt in 1 quart of water (this makes an approximately 6% salt solution). The type & brand of salt used with the “English” formula is important, as table salt, Morton & Diamond Crystal Kosher salts have different equivalents, based on the size of their crystals (Explanation of different salts).

The recipe: The first step is to brine the whole tenderloin in a 5-6% salt solution with a tablespoon of the rub added to help the flavor penetrate the dense muscle fibers of the pork. The recipe calls for adding ice cubes to the brine to help get the solution cool quicker before it goes in the fridge for a minimum of 45 minutes up to overnight.

Once brined, the meat is removed from the solution and some of the salt is briefly rinsed off under running water. Cut the tenderloin in half crossways, then cut each piece lengthwise, giving you 4 pieces that are flat on one surface and curved on the other. In the picture below one of the halves has been split lengthwise and the other has not.
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Put the pieces into a heavy baggie (freezer bag), then pound flat with a mallet or the bottom edge of a heavy water glass. Try to leave the filet (steak) about an inch thick.
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Lightly season with the seasoning or rub of your choice (tonight I used a locally made rub – “Rebel Rub” by Rebel Butcher Supply in Pearl, MS).

The grill: ¬†Prepare the Egg (or other grill) for an elevated direct cook at 400-500* (I used “Grill Grates” on top of my regular grid). Oil the grid with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Grill the steaks for about 2-3 minutes on each side and remove when the internal temperature reads between 135 and 140*. Cover and rest until ready to serve.
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Let night, t0 be compliant with our Ideal Protein diet, we each had 8 oz (precooked weight) and 1.5 cups of oven-roasted asparagus. We also had a salad of 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes with sliced cucumbers and radishes. Jana made a dipping sauce (soy + Sriracha) from an IP video for the meat.
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Enjoy,
Misippi Egger
(Clark Ethridge)

 Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 pork tenderloin, about 1#
50gm (or 1/4 cup) Morton’s Kosher salt
1 liter (or 1 quart) cold water
1 tablespoon of rub, seasoning, or savoy herbs, plus more for seasoning for the grill

Instructions:
(1) Add the salt and rub to 800 ml (or 3 cups) of cold water. Mix well to dissolve the salt in the water. Add ice cubes to bring the volume up to 1 liter (or 1 quart).  Place the whole tenderloin in a gallon ziplock bag, add the brine solution and seal the bag, squeezing out as much of the air as possible. Put the bag in a pan or bowl (in case of leaks) and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or up to overnight (turn occasionally to help the brine stay in contact with all sides of the meat).
(2) About 30 minutes prior to grilling, prepare the Egg (or other grill) for a 400-500*, elevated direct cook. 
(3) Remove the meat from the bag and briefly rinse under running water to remove some of the salt. Cut the tenderloin in half crossways, then cut each piece lengthwise to create 4 filets that are flat on one surface and slightly rounded on the other. Place these filets in a thick bag and pound with a meat mallet (or the bottom edge of a heavy water glass) until the filets are flattened, trying to leave them about 1 inch thick.
(4) Soak a paper towel or rag in vegetable oil and using tongs swab the grid generously to reduce the meat sticking to the grid. Place the filets (steaks) on the grid and grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove when the internal temp reaches between 135 and 140*. (Overcooking might result in dry, chewy steaks). Rest, covered until ready to serve.

Pork chops (a rub comparison) and Roasted Sprouts

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Happy St Patrick’s Day!! ¬†(Photo courtesy of my tailgating friend – David Hyde).

Last night¬†we had a healthy meal of pork chops and a new oven-roasted Brussel Sprouts recipe. Pork chops can be boring, so I decided to liven things up by doing a rub comparison. The chops came from the “Farmers Market” in Oxford, MS and were local, farm-raised hogs.

The rubs for this “test” were Carnivore (Carnivore BBQ)¬†“Rub Me Raw” – one of my favorite butt rubs – and Mike’s All Purpose Seasoning “Spicy Recipe” that I purchased at the Livingston Farmers Market a while back. The Mike’s rub had a lot of paprika, making it easy to tell which chop it was on.

I smeared a small amount of olive oil on each chop before applying the rubs, allowed them to melt for about 20 minutes, then onto the Mini BGE (it was raining on the large) at 300* for 4 minutes on one side and about 3 minutes on the other side. They temped out at about 135-137* internal so I pulled them and let them rest a few minutes.

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Assessment: I split each chop in half, so we could both compare the rubs. We both agreed the Carnivore needed a little more salt, thus making the bolder “Mike’s All Purpose Seasoning” the slightly better choice tonight! I have to admit I deliberately sparingly applied the Carnivore, as¬†I was unsure how salty it would be and thus chose to err on the light side – apparently a little too light. (It has more subtle flavors, although it makes a great bark on a Boston butt). I will definitely layer on more next time. Either of these rubs will give you excellent results, as will other choices like “Sprouts” (a local rub), lemon pepper, Greek seasoning or an herbal choice like Italian Seasoning or Herbes de Provence.

Of course, the Egg shined again with this cook – delivering chops that were so juicy one would find it hard to believe they had not been brined before grilling.

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Serves 2

Ingredients:
2  8 oz center-cut pork chops
Olive Oil
Carnivore, Mike’s or your favorite rub

Instructions:
(1) Smear a light coating of olive oil on both sides of each chop.
(2) Liberally apply the rub to both sides of the chops and allow them to rest at room temp for 20-30 minutes.
(3) Prepare a direct fire at 300-350* dome temperature.  Grill the chops for 4 minutes , then flip and grill until the internal temp is 135-137*.
(4) Cover with foil and rest for 5-8 minutes before serving.

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Bonus recipe: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Smoked Salt

Serves 2

Ingredients:
4 cups Brussel sprouts, halved
4 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked salt
2 tsp Maple syrup (I used Walden Farms brand – no calories)
2 slices of bacon, chopped (leave this off if on the Ideal Protein diet)

Instructions:
(1) Preheat oven to 425*.
(2) Mix together all ingredients to make the marinade. 
(3) Put the halved sprouts in a ziplock with the marinade and shake around to thoroughly coat them.
(4) Place the Brussel sprouts, cut side down, on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Flip them over and roast for another 10 minutes or until they are a nice brown color.

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Happy St. Paddy’s Day from Misippi Egger (Clark Ethridge)

“Mad Max” Turkey

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I’ve previously blogged about a simple turkey recipe (Herbes de Provence Turkey). This post will link readers to my absolute favorite turkey recipe – the “Mad Max” Turkey. My good friend, Max Rosen, whom I initially met on the original BGE Forum is well known by Eggheads who have participated on Forums, Facebook BGE pages and attended Egg Fests. He has developed this fantastic turkey recipe and openly shares it with fellow cooks around Thanksgiving every year (in the past he has actually posted his phone number (hotline) where we could call for help if we didn’t understand something). It is not a difficult recipe, but it has more details than the Herbes de Provence turkey, including steps for making a stock, cooking the turkey, and making an awesome gravy to go with it.

Important note: This recipe will easily work in the oven or in a gas or charcoal grill.

Since the recipe has resided for several years on “The Naked Whiz” blog, there’s really no reason for me to duplicate it here. Therefore I will provide a link to his site, which is loaded with well-respected resources including “classes and recipes”. ¬†So click here and I hope you enjoy this turkey recipe as much as we do.¬†The Naked Whiz’s Blog.

Misippi Egger
(Clark Ethridge)

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Lamb Chops

This is a quick and easy weeknight cook:

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My friend from New Zealand, Chantelle, taught me the best lamb in our area is found at Sam’s Club. Considering her background and experience raising and cooking lamb, I had to believe her. Sam’s (we have no Costco here) has not disappointed. Lamb chops, rack of lamb and leg of lamb have all ¬†experienced hot charcoal¬†in my Egg – great flavor with essentially none of the “mutton” taste many associate with lamb.

Lamb, like beef, will handle a bold rub, so many people use coffee-based rubs. I use one of 2 rubs with chops and racks of lamb – Dizzy Pig’s Red Eye Express, which is coffee-based. More recently I have been using Cluck and Squeal’s Beef Specific on lamb and as well as on beef.

Here are the chops seasoned and letting the rub ‘melt in’ while I got the Egg going.
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I prepared my Egg for an elevated, direct cook at 400-450* with Grill Grates (Amazon РGrill Grates) on the grid. The chops were grilled for 3 minutes on one side, then flipped and grilled until their internal temp reached 125-130*.
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They were rested 5-8 minutes, then served with pan-roasted mixed vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, and squash).
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Serves 2

Ingredients:
20 oz. of bone-in lamb chops (about 16 oz of meat)
Bold rub (Dizzy Pig ‘Red-Eye Express’ or Cluck and Squeal ‘Beef Specific’)

Instructions:
(1) Trim any thick, hard fat along the edges of the chops. Liberally coat both sides with the rub, including the edges. Pat in the rub.
(2) Prepare the grill for an elevated, direct cook at 450-500*. Add Grill Grates to the grid, if using.
(3) Place chops on the grid for about 3 minutes, then flip. Cook until internal temp reaches 125-130* (for medium rare), moving around on the grid to prevent burning if there are any hot spots.
(4) Cover with foil and rest 5-8 minutes before serving.
Enjoy,
Misippi Egger
(Clark Ethridge)

 

Herbes de Provence Turkey

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Though most people think of serving turkey for Thanksgiving, it is also a popular holiday main course for Christmas and Easter.¬† There are many ways to roast a turkey on a Big Green Egg (BGE) and I have tried several of them.¬† I have settled on two recipes that our family likes best and I will present the first of these in this blog today. (This recipe can also be used on a turkey cooked in a charcoal or gas grill or an oven and is Ideal Protein, Phase 1 compliant). First I must go over the 8 ‚ÄúRules of Turkey Cooking‚ÄĚ:

Rule #1: The Turkey¬† I purchase a fresh (never frozen) turkey whenever I can. These are a little more expensive and can usually be found at The Fresh Market or non-grocery butcher shops. They will often NOT be injected with sodium and water and will not be self-brining.¬† If one purchases a grocery store turkey (Butterball, etc), check the labelling, as it will likely be injected with 3-8% solution. It keeps the turkey moist when cooked in a hot, dry oven, but remember when¬†cooking in the awesome, moisture-retaining BGE it¬†will not need to be brined. (That said, some BGE owners insist on brining their turkeys, usually to infuse added flavors before cooking it in the Egg, but occasionally it’s because they just don‚Äôt understand their Egg‚Äôs properties).

Rule #2: Practice run  One needs to know if their plan will work (fit) on the Egg. I put all the components into the Egg, including the bird (frozen or fresh Рstill in the plastic wrapper) to be sure the pans will fit and it will close properly with the bird in place. I often have to modify my original plan based on this practice run Рchange from upright roaster to roasting pan or adjust grid heights to accommodate the drip pan or a large bird. I have even removed the fire ring and lowered the PS to the top of the fire box (4 inches deeper) to get a large turkey upright. I could easily touch the bird through the top opening!

Rule #3: Thaw thoroughly – with a frozen turkey, remember it will take at least 2, sometimes 3 days to fully thaw it in a refrigerator, so plan accordingly.

Rule #4 Separate the skin  This is not a requirement on every turkey cook, but many recipes for turkey, and well as chicken, will instruct one to use a wooden spoon handle or, my preference, fingers to carefully undermine the breast, thigh and leg skin (try NOT to create a hole in the skin). This serves two purposes: (1) it allows one to add butter, olive oil, rubs or herbs under the skin for flavor, and (2) it also helps crisp up the skin when cooking.

Rule #5: Room temperature  Always place the turkey on the counter and allow it to approach room temperature before placing in the BGE (or oven). This can range from one hour for a small bird to 2 hours for a very large one.

Rule #6: Chill the breast  A perfectly cooked turkey (or chicken) will be done when the internal temperature of the breast is 160-165*, yet the legs and thighs should be 170-180*. I fill a gallon-size ziplock bag with crushed ice and place it on top of the breast about 20-30 minutes prior to placing the turkey in the Egg. By chilling the breast meat, it takes the breast longer to reach its done temperature, allowing time for the thighs to reach 180* (works for oven-cooked turkeys, also).

Rule #7: Don’t forget the giblets!  Don’t forget there is a neck and a bag of giblets stuffed inside the cavity of the bird. Make sure it is completely removed!

Rule #8: Estimated cook time¬† I have kept records of my cook times and Egg’d turkeys seem to average roughly 8-10 minutes per pound at 325-350* dome temperature. This is shorter than what most people expect, but remember, the BGE is essentially a convection cooker. With recipes that involve stuffing fruit and/or vegetables inside the cavity, the cook time will be longer – more like 15-20 minutes per pound.

Herbes de Provence Turkey

The first and simplest of my turkey recipes I learned from my former colleague and his gracious wife – Barry & Carolyn Aden. This gives a nice, browned turkey with a pleasant herbal flavor.

I use a herb paste made from olive oil mixed with Herbes de Provence and kosher salt. This paste is rubbed under the skin of the breasts, thighs and legs plus the outside and cavity of the turkey. To give it a short dry brine and let the flavors soak into the meat, it is covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated several hours or even overnight.

Prepare the BGE for an indirect cook with a drip pan and a dome temp of 325-350*. Place the platesetter (PS) with the legs up. Put some spacers (3-4 small balls of aluminum foil will work) on the PS, then a drip pan on the spacers (the air gap between the drip pan and the PS helps prevent the drippings from burning). The turkey can be placed on an upright roaster or in a V-rack (or roasting pan). The best smoking woods are mild fruit woods like apple, pecan or cherry (poultry soaks up smoke, so don’t overdo it).

Turkey on an upright roaster
Turkey on an upright roaster

Once the Egg has stabilized (with the PS and the drip pan) at your goal temp of 325-350* for about 45 minutes, place the turkey inside and insert a continuous-read thermometer (see “thermometers” in¬†The Basics) into the thigh, avoiding contact with the bone. Baste occasionally with paste diluted with white vinegar. When the breast begins to brown, tent it with a loose piece of aluminum foil until about the last hour, when you can remove it and let the breast brown up nicely. Remove the bird when it‚Äôs done, cover and rest it on a cutting board until time to carve and serve.

Enjoy,
Misippi Egger
(Clark Ethridge)

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Serves 10-12

Ingredients:
1 12#   fresh turkey
3 tbsp   Herbes de Provence (more, if needed)
4 tbsp   EVOO (more, if needed)
1 tbsp   Coarse sea salt, or Kosher 
2 oz     White vinegar

Instructions:
Herb Paste:
(1) Mix EVOO and Herbes de Provence and salt to make a thick paste.  Reserve the remaining paste and mix it with the white vinegar to make a baste for later (or remake a smaller quantity for basting).
Prep of turkey:
(1) Pat the turkey dry. Undermine the skin with fingers or the handle of a wooden spoon, beginning at the top of the breasts and undermining as far onto the thighs and drumsticks as possible, being careful not to tear holes in the skin.  Generously rub the paste under the skin, then completely rub the outside of the turkey and the cavity with the paste. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
(2) Allow the turkey to come to room temperature before putting on the grill (about a hour). During the last 20-30 min. of this time, place a gallon bag with crushed ice over the breasts to keep them cooler than the dark meat.
The Cook:
(1) Fill the BGE up with lump to within about 1″ of the bottom of the platesetter. Get it¬†stabilized at about 325-350* with the platesetter in place and the legs up (may need to remove the fire ring if turkey is 20# or so). Mix some pecan or apple chips/chunks in¬†with the lump.
(2) Place turkey on a vertical roaster in a drip pan, a V-rack over a drip pan, or in a roaster/rack pan and cook until thigh temp is 180* (the breast should be about 160*). Cover and rest until time to serve.

 

Kodiak River Salmon

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There are many ways to grill salmon. Once I developed this recipe/technique, Jana won’t allow me to experiment with any other recipes. This is her favorite and she says “It is perfect. Don’t change it”.

I realize many of you like marinated and/or glazed salmon, cedar-planked salmon, BBQ salmon, etc., and those are all good, but this will be about our “go to” salmon recipe – Kodiak River Salmon. (Note: I will blog about¬†smoked salmon (cold and hot) on another day).

First and foremost, you need a nice, fresh piece of salmon. If it ‘smells’, it’s probably not fresh! I buy my salmon from Duggan’s Seafood in Jackson (truck parked every Thursday and Friday in the DeVille Plaza parking lot, near CVS building). This salmon comes from the cold, Nova Scotia area and is raised in huge, offshore deep-water farms. We prefer skin-on filets – the skin protects the filets from overcooking and the crispy skin is a treat!

Note: If you purchase a whole filet, you should cut the thin belly piece off so it doesn’t over cook, giving you a nice, evenly thick center piece. We save those belly pieces (called¬†Toro)¬†and cook them for appetizers – they are delicious!

This is a 1 pound center-cut filet piece drizzled with a small amount of olive oil and liberally seasoned with Big Green Egg “Kodiak River” seasoning. This seasoning can be purchased at¬†Madison Fireplace & Patio¬†in Madison, MS or at your local egg dealer. The pieces of Toro have¬†a light coating of Kodiak River.

Salmon filet and pieces of Toro seasoned
Salmon filet and pieces of Toro seasoned

We had torrential rains all day (the lake is coming over our seawall and pier) and since my Mini Egg is under the porch, it got the nomination tonight. I prepared it for a direct cook at 400-450* dome temp.
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I carefully scraped the hot grid clean and to further protect the fish from sticking, I swabbed the grid with a small rag soaked in vegetable oil.
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I placed the filet and the pieces of Toro flesh down on the oiled grid, then closed the dome for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

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I used a spatula to flip all the pieces, putting the skin down on the grid. (The spatula works better on the tender salmon filet because it will fall apart when using tongs — trust me)!
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After about another minute, I removed the Toro pieces and we ‘dug in’ to these very tasty (high fat content) appetizers.
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When the filet reached 120-130* internal temperature, I removed it from¬†the grill. I always try to let it rest, covered for a few minutes, but that doesn’t always happen!
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I divided this filet lengthwise into 2 servings and plated with roasted bacon & brussel sprouts and roasted chayote squash.
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This technique is great for a quick weeknight meal. The salmon has a nice crust from the rub and the flesh-down sear, but it is flaky and juicy inside.

Try it Рit might become your only salmon recipe also!

Addendum: ¬†Weeknight cook: 1# salmon filet plus an appetizer piece of Toro from Duggan’s fish truck. Kodiak River rub plus a light dusting of sea salt.¬†450* on Grill Grates -( Buy at Amazon ¬†):
Kodiak River SalmonDone at 120* internal temp. Plated over pan-roasted Brussel sprouts, mushrooms and bacon:
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Enjoy!
Clark
(Misippi Egger)

Serves 2                   Prep and cook time: 30 min.

Ingredients:
1 lb fresh salmon filet, skin on
Olive oil
Big Green Egg Kodiak River rub

Instructions:
Prepare Egg for a 400-450* direct cook
Clean salmon filet, trim off (and save) thin belly piece to get a filet of even thickness. Drizzle a light coating of olive oil and spread it around (to hold the rub better). Liberally coat the filet with the rub and allow it to ‘melt’ onto the filet for 10-15 minutes.
Clean the hot grid carefully and swab with a rag or paper towel soaked in vegetable oil. Lay the filet and any Toro pieces on the grid – skin down.
After 2-2.5 minutes, using a spatula, flip the filet and Toro so the skin side is on the grid.
Remove any Toro pieces after another minute and continue to let the filet cook until it reaches 120-130* internal temp.
Cover and rest for 5-8 minutes, then serve.

Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus

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It’s hard to beat a sunny, spring-like Sunday afternoon with a couple of the grand-boys and family visiting for lunch, boat riding and fishing! ¬†I needed a couple of quick, easy vegetable sides to go with a crock pot roast. I made cabbage boats¬†(click on the link to see recipe) and while they rested, I threw¬†prosciutto-wrapped asparagus on the Grill Grates (available at Amazon – Grill Grates)¬†for a few minutes.

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Preparing the asparagus is easy. It can even be wrapped the day before, then seasoned and grilled in only a few minutes. Guests will rave about them!

After you have snapped and washed the asparagus spears, carefully spiral a slice of prosciutto (they will tear easily) around each thick spear. If your spears are very thin, group 2-4 together and wrap with a slice of the meat. Once they are all wrapped, and in a dish (9×13 works well), liberally drizzle them with olive oil and roll them around to coat evenly. The prosciutto is fairly salty, so chose a seasoning with minimal salt and use sparingly. We like Dizzy Pig’s Swamp Venom (a cajun-style seasoning) and really just apply to one side of the spears.

They are grilled direct on a grid (or on Grill Grates) or in a veggie grill pan. All you want to do is firm-up the prosciutto on all sides for a few minutes. Place back in the dish and cover until ready to serve.

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Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 bunch of asparagus (about 36 thick spears)
Prosciutto (enough for all spears)
Olive oil
Cajun seasoning (minimal salt)

Instructions:
(1) Snap the spears, wash and dry. 
(2) Separate the prosciutto slices and carefully spiral wrap a slice around each spear, or around 2-4 spears if they are thin.
(3) Place the wrapped spears in a wide dish and liberally drizzle with olive oil, rolling the spears around to thoroughly coat them with the oil. They can be prepared the day before, covered and kept in the refrigerator until ready to season and grill.
(4) Sparingly apply the cajun seasoning (I only season one side).
(5) Grill direct at 400*, turning frequently to prevent burning. You only need to char a little Рto let the prosciutto firm up.
(6) Cover until ready to serve.

Enjoy,
Misippi Egger

Butter-crusted Sea Bass

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I learned to cook sea bass in a convection oven from my friends and colleagues Mike West¬†and Steve Stephenson – simple preparation at 425* for 22 minutes (thick filet). It’s a great recipe, but of course I just had to try it on my Egg.

I patted the filets dry, then brushed lightly with melted butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.
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I set up my BGE for an indirect cook at 450-500*. I inverted my Grill Grates (available at Madison Fireplace & Patio and many local dealers or at Amazon – Grill Grates), creating a flat, griddle-like surface. I sprayed the griddle with Pam and put the filets on (there was a huge flare-up from the Pam dripping onto the indirect piece, but I snuffed it out by briefly closing the dome with the rain cap on top).
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After about 6 minutes, I flipped them to prevent burning, and they were done in a total of about 10-12 minutes.
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The sea bass filets were plated with roasted broccoli from my garden and saute’ed garlic spinach plus a nice glass of merlot. The fish had a great crust (which the oven recipe doesn’t produce) and a juicy, flaky center. I will definitely be cooking it this way in our future!
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Addendum (5/19/16): Slight change in recipe tonight: Added a light sprinkling of lemon pepper and granulated garlic to one side of each filet. Swabbed Grill Grates with vegetable oil and cooked at BGE dome temp of 400*). Pic below:
Sea Bass 5:16
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 fresh sea bass filets, about 2 inches thick
1/4 stick butter, melted
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
High-temp, nonstick spray product

Instructions:
(1) Prepare the Egg for a 450-500* elevated, indirect cook. Invert Grill Grates (or use some other griddle-like accessory) and place on the grid. 
(2) Pat the filets dry and lightly brush both sides with the melted butter. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
(3) Spray the surface with a high-temp, non-stick product (be careful of flare-ups).
(4) Place the filets on the surface and flip after about 6 minutes. They should be ready in another 5-6 minutes (one can check the internal temp with an instant-read thermometer if desired).
(5) Rest under foil for 5-8 minutes before serving.

Eggcessories – The Basics

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When one purchases a Big Green Egg, there are decisions to be made about what accessories are needed.¬† Often the local dealer will ‚Äúthrow in‚ÄĚ a couple of things in addition to a bag of BGE lump (during special occasionally like Father‚Äôs Day there are frequently more ‚Äėbonuses‚Äô).

Necessary starter tools:
(1) Ash tool (to rake the ash from the bottom as well as stir around the lump, like a fire poker)
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(2) Grid lifter
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(3) Fire starters
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Additional start-up items:
(1) Depending on your plans for your Egg‚Äôs ‚Äúliving quarters‚ÄĚ at your house, you may need one of the nests, a nest handler, mates (shelves), or even a table.

Egg resting in nest
Egg resting in nest
BGE Mates (shelf) with tools hanging from hooks
BGE Mates (shelf) with tools hanging from hooks
Wooden table
Wooden table
Table nest (elevates hot base above the shelf)
Table nest (elevates hot base above the shelf)

(2) Platesetter (convEggtor): This is used to create an indirect fire for cooking low and slow or for baking in the egg. It is also used in conjunction with a pizza stone for cooking pizzas. Some dealers also offer a cast iron version of the platesetter which has a griddle on the reverse side.

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(3) Pizza Stone. Because of the high temps in the Egg, one needs to buy a higher quality pizza stone, preferably a BGE brand. Thinner stones, like those sold by Pampered Chef have been known to crack when used in an Egg.

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(4) V-rack. ¬†A good, enamel-coated V-rack doubles as a rack to hold large pieces of meat (roast, Boston butt, leg of lamb, turkey, chicken) above a drip pan for better airflow. It also can¬†be flipped upside down and ¬†function as a rib rack or to make a large brisket “fit” by draping it over the inverted V-rack.

V-Rack sitting in a drip pan
V-Rack sitting in a drip pan
Inverted V-rack to be used as a rib rack
Inverted V-rack to be used as a rib rack

(5) Drip pans. These can be disposable foil pans of various sizes or pans purchased specifically as drip pans. I highly suggest you wrap both sides of reusable drip pans with heavy duty aluminum foil (inside to make clean-up of drippings easier and on the outside to reduce the amount of staining that comes from the smoke).

Platesetter (legs up) with drip pan and grid on top of legs
Platesetter (legs up) with drip pan and grid on top of legs

(6) Thermometers. You will take your cooking to the next level and create very consistent cooks when you learn to cook to internal temperature versus estimating cooking time or using the ‚Äútouch‚ÄĚ techniques. There are different types and prices of grilling thermometers.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Continuous read:¬† These thermometers have probes that either insert into the meat or measure the grill (pit) temp – or 2 probes to allow reading of both simultaneously.¬† Some models also have a remote feature, allowing you to monitor the meat and/or pit from a distance (great in bad weather conditions or for overnight cooks). I have used Maverick remote thermometers for 8-10 years on almost every cook I do. I have found them very reliable and affordable. Maverick also makes one that¬†is branded ‚ÄúBGE‚ÄĚ, but it has about a $20 higher price tag. I don‚Äôt like a thermometer where one chooses which kind of meat their cooking and has pre-set ‚Äúdone temps‚ÄĚ built in (Maverick E-733). I prefer to make my own decisions about what temps I desire for the various meats (beef, pork, poultry) I am cooking, so my personal preference and recommendation is the Maverick E-732.

Maverick E-732 (remote w/ dual probes)
Maverick E-732 (remote w/ dual probes)

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Instant read:¬† These are fast, highly accurate thermometers used by master chefs. They are great for double checking the final temps, especially in different parts of the meat, or for those times when a continuous read thermometer is not used. Thermoworks makes several models in difference price ranges. The Thermapen (~$90) is their ‚Äėflagship‚Äô thermometer – fast, extremely accurate and compact. They also make the ‚ÄúThermoPop‚ÄĚ (~$30), which is smaller, slightly less accurate, but with a lower price point. I have and use both a Thermapen and a ThermoPop, though the faster Thermapen is my ‚Äúgo to‚ÄĚ.

Thermapen
Thermapen

Now you are ready to get to grilling!  Watch for a future blog on more accessories to further enhance your BGE cooking experience.

Your family will not only appreciate the great food you create, but they will have an endless choice of Christmas, birthday, Father’s Day and other gift ideas of Egg accessories, rubs, tools, etc. you will be thrilled to receive!!