Wednesday, April 19, 2017

San Francisco Smoked Whiskey Salt Makes my Steak Spot On

San Francisco Company Whiskey Smoked Salt

I had considered getting some salt and smoking it and then grinding it down, but the San Francisco Salt Co. got in touch, and I discovered the wheel had already been invented. SFSC has smoked salt, and it is not the fake "smoke in a bottle" stuff which I do not like at all. This is naturally smoked salt, and it tastes great.

San Francisco Whiskey Smoked Salt is especially good on steak, particularly high-end, grass-fed cuts like rib steak. I don't want to drown the taste out on a good steak, but it helps to have good quality simple seasonings for the best results.

Below is a rib steak with San Francisco salt and some freshly ground pepper. The only other addition are the two little pieces of butter that are melting on top of the almost done steak. Grass fed beef is leaner, so a very small amount of real butter adds to the taste too.

 Grass Fed Beef with San Francisco Salt, Pepper, and Butter

Some people think salt is salt. That is not the case. As with most things, you get what you pay for. You also can get natural salt San Francisco salt which is healthier as well as being tastier.

This is the first time I've tried smoked salt, and SFSC did send me a bottle to check out. I'm more a pepper girl than salt (just how I roll), but I really loved this salt. I've also heard the pink Himalayan salt from San Fran Salt is fabulous. I'll have to try that out some time. The black truffle also sounds interesting.

I give thumbs up to the San Francisco Smoked Whiskey Salt. It has a delicate flavor and does not overpower my meat which is important with the cost of cuts these days. The whiskey salt just takes the steak up a few notches and will give you a bit of smoke taste even if you don't use charcoal as I typically do.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Barbecue "Fails" from the Experts Including the Barbecue Master

Oops! Fire Gets Out of Hand Due to Full Drip Pan

We all have those huge BBQ fails now and then or even little errors that make the grill-out less than stellar.

Someone forgot to empty the grease holder in the back of the grill before a simple hot dog and hamburger grill out (above), and it took some quick moving to save the day. I jerked the grill door open and cut the gas which worked like a charm. And, I cleaned out the drip box for the owners (who may not have even been aware that it was hidden in the back of the grill).

If you grill much at all, I'm guessing that you have your own barbecue blooper in mind. Or, maybe you are just starting out and want to avoid the most common mistakes.

My friend, Robert Mazarella, put together an excellent guide to the bad and ugly of barbecue by checking in with the experts (including me). Check out his barbecue guide which includes many of the top names in barbecue grilling sharing their tips and hints for outdoor grilling success every time (or most of the time). I know you'll enjoy his barbecue site and his guide for the best barbeques. 

Friday, February 05, 2016

Pendleton Barbecue Sauce - Yes That is Pendleton Whiskey BBQ Sauce

Pendleton Barbecue Sauce - Original and Hot/Spicy

I try not to read much about a barbecue sauce before I do a grill test. I like to see if I can catch the flavor layers without having read them.

It was cold outside, but I wanted to try out Pendleton's BBQ Sauce. I went with boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, because they grill fast. Good thing. If you look close, you will see it started snowing after I put the chicken on the O Grill.

Chicken Tenders with Pendleton Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

I popped the lid on the barbecue sauce, and the smell was fabulous. That does not always mean it's great grilled, but I had high hopes.

Since the chicken would grill quick, I lathered it in Pendleton's and put it right on a small gas grill. It only took a few minutes on each side.

Grilled Chicken with Oregon Growers and Pendelton sauce

Yes. The chicken looked yummy. And, YES, it was delicious. The original is great, but I lean to hot and spicy, so that was my favorite.  There are a number of other flavors too like Brown Sugar and Molasses from Pendleton.

There was one flavor I could not pinpoint, and it was a key flavor. I then went back to the information, and it was the Pendleton whiskey. Bam. I should have guessed that, but I've never had that brand whiskey which is aged in oak barrels using glacier-fed, spring water from Mt. Hood in Oregon. I'll have to see if they carry the whiskey around here, because it sure was a nice mix with barbecue sauce. I'm sure the whiskey would be very good based on the flavor it added to the sauce.

The Oregon Growers & Shippers sent me the barbecue sauce to see what I thought in exchange for an honest review (the only kind I do). They specialize in farm-direct products and have an award winning product line. Hood River Distillers produces the Pendleton Whiskey. They have a number of products in their line too.

I would recommend both sauces for almost anyone. The hot and spicy does have a kick, but I don't think it's too much for most people. If you really can't handle heat, then go for the original.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Bertolli Sauce and Smoked Meatballs on the BBQ Grill - Happy 150th Birthday

 Happy 150th Birthday Bertolli

We have a Italian sauce issue at my house. I love homemade, but my boys think the jarred is better. Go figure. This meant that I was a little worried about trying out Bertolli (which I've not had before), but I thought it would be worth a try. They would send out the beautiful box of their 150th birthday gourmet sauces, and I might or might not find a sauce from a jar that I enjoyed serving and eating.

The box came in, and I was impressed with the packaging. Of course, presentation doesn't matter if the taste/flavor is not there. The new celebration sauces did sound yummy. They include:
 Marinara with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar with Caramelized Onions
              Asiago Cheese with Artichokes
                            Porcini Mushroom with White Truffle Oil

I decided to go Italian on the Weber Grill with the sauce heated and meatballs smoked. It was hard to select the first sauce to try, but I liked the sound of Porcini Mushroom with White Truffle Oil.

 Bertolli Riserva Porcini Mushroom and White Truffle Oil Sauce

It is possible to do the noodles on the grill. You have to hit a boil and then maintain the heat. It's easier on a gas sideburner though many of those do not put out enough heat. Over charcoal can hit the needed temperatures, but it's hard to keep heat even. A good thick, pot is good for holding the heat.

Since I was not out in the great outdoors, I did my pasta on the stove. It's much easier, so I'd say do that on the stove, unless you are out camping or something.

I did heat the marinara sauce over charcoal to add a little smoke flavor and also grilled meatballs with mushrooms.

 Grilled Meatballs with Bertolli Marinara 

Yum. I was very pleasantly surprised at how good the sauce tasted. The smoke added a nice note, but the basic sauce was excellent. My boys can tell you that I've never said that about any sauce in a jar. I might eat it to humor them, but I don't have to like it. This sauce, I did like as much or more than my own.

I'm glad Bertolli got in touch about their new celebration sauces. I wasn't really sure that I could ever eat sauce from a jar and love it, but that is how I feel about this red sauce. I will be buying Bertolli, and I'm thankful to have found a sauce that I really enjoy.

Friday, October 16, 2015

AC Lens Team Sunglasses Just in Time for Tailgating Season

Eli Sporting Michigan AC Lens Sunglasses

AC Lens asked me about trying out their sunglasses for tailgate season. They have a variety of teams (team names are on the sides of the glass), and there is a sporty version sunglasses you see above and a preppy version sunglasses which you can see below with the Ohio Buckeyes.

The sunglasses come in the $15-$20 range, so I was surprised at how nice they are. They look great in the photos but even better when they come in. 

The clarity on the lenses is excellent. My son commented that things looked better through the glasses than without the glasses. I guess the tinting gives things that extra umph. 

The glasses come with a study carrying case like prescription glasses, and there is a lint free cloth for cleaning the sunglasses.  

I thought the glasses were great and offered great protection, but I wear prescription lenses. That meant that I wanted another opinion looking through the lenses. I'm going to see blurry due to overuse of my eyes I think (all the blogging - haha).

Now I think I've lost my sunglasses. His grandfather lost his nice pair on a trip. Now, where they went, who knows? Anyway, Eli was impressed with the AC sunglasses Michigan, and he looks cooler than I do in them. 

If you want a great pair of football team themed sunglasses for tailgating or just to hang out, I give a thumbs up. Eli gives and even bigger thumbs up, and he's in that college aged crowd (can be hard to please). The company has a great selection, so no matter what kind of sunglasses you are looking for, this would be a good place to check out.

So, you can see this tailgating sunglasses review has a happy ending all 'round.

 New Sunglasses for Me!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Johnsonville Heat and Eat Breakfast Sausage Links on the BBQ Grill

Johnsonville Sausage Links - Heat/Brown and Eat

We use Johnsonville brats around here when we tailgate or want a hearty, yummy dinner on the grill, so I thought Johnsonville sausages sounded like a good bet when they offered me a couple of sample packages to try out the new lines.

The Johnsonville sausage links are like the ones you get at restaurants or at the grocery store and generally brown in the frying pan for breakfast. The links would be great for a camp breakfast right on the grill as I did them or on a flat top or grill wok over the coals or gas flames.

Here I went for Johnsonville sausage link appetizers. I shook the sausages up in a zip lock bag with Dizzy Pig barbecue rub. You could use any favorite barbecue rub. I do love Dizzy Pig. Then, I put the sausages on the grill to brown them and set the rub.  This took literally a couple of minutes. My Weber grill fire was hot and ready.

The smoky flavor from the charcoal and the Dizzy Pig rub gave the Johnsonville links a really nice flavor. My son (who prefers mild flavors) loved these as appetizers with lightly spicy mustard. I enjoyed them too but kept wishing I had some scrambled eggs. I guess I'm old and set in some of my flavor ways. I'll make my eggs too next time.

Whether you want good tasting sausage links (and I've had some that were not so tasty) or want to flavor these up with rub and serve them with mustard, the Johnsonville sausage links grill up beatifically and the actual sausage flavor is very nice. I'd like a spicy option, but I can always spice things up.

Johnsonville also has sausage patties out along with the links. I'll have to give those a try too. We love breakfast around here and especially biscuits and sausage gravy.

Johnsonville Sausage Links Grilled with Barbecue Rub

You may also want to try our Johnsonville beer brats recipe. That is one of the family all-time favorite grilling recipes. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Napa Jack's Barbecue Sauce Grilled Pork Chops (sauce review)

Napa Jack's Barbecue Sauces

You better turn on the lights before you go feeling around in the dark for something stiff to drink, or you might grab a bottle of Napa Jack's. Yes. The bottles look like liquor bottles, but they contain some very yummy barbecue sauce. One sauce even has wine in the recipe though not liquor.

Napa Jack's asked if I'd like sample bottles to see what I thought of these sauces. I like to try out new sauces and do reviews, so I said I give these sauces a try.

Pork Chops on the O Grill with Napa Jack's

This was a late day at the office, so I decided to do some thin chops. Well, I'm not sure if those are even chops. They are pork though.

Seeing as how these were thin, I let them marinate in the Napa Jack's barbecue sauce. The smell was really nice, kind of tangy but sweet.

Napa Jack Pork Chops Hit the Spot

The pork turned out good. The sauce was definitely the star of the show. My favorite was the Chipotle Cabernet. That little hint of wine gave it the edge for me.

These barbecue sauces were advertised as being good as replacements for ketchup which worried me a bit. They are mild enough to use more generally, but they do taste like barbecue sauce. I could see them used for dipping as also mentioned (meat balls would be really good - especially grilled meat balls). I doubt I'd dip French fries, but then I like my fries plain, so I'm not the best one to judge on that.

I would also not that these sauces are all natural and do have that nice fresh flavor. They are also gluten free. My family eats the heck out of some gluten, but I know a lot of people avoid gluten these days.