BBQ-Heroes

Author: Erik Smilda

Georgia-style pork chops

These Georgia-style pork chops are fantastic for feeding a large group of hungry friends during a top-notch party. No party? No problem. After enjoying the delightful aromas all afternoon, your neighbours probably won’t mind getting one of these thick chops tossed over the fence.

These thick pork chops are a variation of the Georgia-style pork chops made by Tootsie Tomanetz, the pitmaster of Snow’s BBQ. Generally, Texans keep it simple, seasoning the meat mainly with pepper and salt. But in Georgia, they can go a bit further, turning these chops into an absolute flavour explosion.

When we say thick chops, we mean it. These are about 3 cm thick, which is the ideal thickness. From a pork shoulder of about 3 kilos, you’ll get about 4 to 5 thick chops. Since we’re going to cook this meat low and slow, it’s essential to use good quality meat with a decent amount of intramuscular fat.

That’s the thin white lines of fat you see running through the pink meat. The more white lines, the better the meat. This fat is very soft and melts easily, making the meat more tender. Fat is also the most significant flavour enhancer in meat. Lean meat doesn’t taste like much.

We’re going to season these chops with a traditional dry rub with lots of brown sugar, paprika, and a bit of heat. This combination is standard in many barbecue regions where pork is on the menu. You’ll also see mustard powder in Georgia-style rubs, making this dry rub unique to the area.

American BBQ is done on a thick offset smoker, which will only fit in some Dutch backyards. We use our smaller gravity-fed smoker.

We’ll place the thick chops on the warming racks in the smoker. We’ve noticed that the temperature and smoke distribution are better higher up in the chamber. Luckily, there’s plenty of space. We’ll insert a thermometer into two of the chops to monitor the core temperature. Then, we’ll close the lid, and while we’re waiting, we can make the mop sauce.

Mop sauce is a thinner version of barbecue sauce, often stronger in flavour. Georgia is known for its acidic mop sauce with tomato sauce as its base. This combination is excellent for fattier cuts of pork. The acid is generally apple cider vinegar, but we use orange juice. This makes the mop sauce a bit milder.

After an hour, we’ll check the meat to see if the dry rub has adhered well to the surface. Then, we’ll mop the chops with the sauce and repeat that process when the surface dries. We’ll do this on both sides until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 80°C (176°F). This won’t be pulled pork. If you want the meat even softer, you must cook it longer.

For mopping, we use a so-called mop brush. A brush with long braided strings similar to a small mop. The loosely braided strings hold the thin sauce well, ensuring more of it ends up on the meat.

After about 3 to 4 hours, you’ll have wonderfully tender pork chops bursting with flavour. These will truly make everyone happy.

And when you cut the chops in half, you’ll be greeted with deliciously juicy meat and hopefully a nice smoke ring if you’re lucky. This isn’t raw meat but is caused by a chemical reaction between the meat and the gases in the smoke. Such a pink edge looks fantastic on Instagram.

 

Let us know if you will make these Georgia-style pork chops in the comments below. Better yet, take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqhelden so we can see how it turns out.

Ingredients

  • A pork neck of about 3 kilos for 4 to 5 thick pork chops

For the dry rub

  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp paprika powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic granulate
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

For the mop sauce

  • 200 ml of ketchup
  • 50 ml of orange juice
  • 3 tbsp mild mustard
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Prepare a smoker with a temperature of 150°C (302F) and a few thick chunks of smoking wood. Cherry or apple works very well with pork.
  2. Mix all ingredients for the dry rub. Cut the pork neck into 3 cm or 2 finger thick chops and sprinkle them with a thick layer of the dry rub.
  3. Place the pork chops in the smoker, close the lid, and start making the mop sauce.
  4. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until well mixed and the sugar is melted.
  5. After the first hour, mop the pork chops and then every time, just before the sauce dries out.
  6. The chops are ready when they reach an internal temperature of 80ºC (176°F).
  7. Let the chops rest for 10 minutes before slicing them.

Smoked Salmon on Turkish Bread

If you want to serve a truly spectacular salmon sandwich, this is the recipe you’ve been waiting for. We smoked a huge piece of salmon and placed it on Turkish bread.

If you have a restaurant, you should definitely put this sandwich on the menu. This sandwich can easily feed 8 to 10 people if you’re hosting a party.

This is 700 grams of salmon fillet with skin. You can also use skinless if you prefer, which makes it easier to place on the bread. But don’t worry—you can easily remove the skin after smoking.

We season the salmon with pepper and salt, slather it with herbed butter, and sprinkle it with fresh Italian herbs and lemon slices. Together with the smoke, this already creates an amazing flavour.

For this preparation, we use the Kamado Joe SloRoller. It ensures that heat and smoke are evenly distributed in the chamber. This is crucial for salmon because you don’t want one side to cook faster than the other.

We place an aluminium drip pan on the SloRoller because the moisture from the salmon can burn on the plate, creating an unpleasant smell.

Our thermometer has two probes. One goes into the salmon to monitor its core temperature, and the other is clipped to the grill to monitor the temperature around the salmon.

Cooking the salmon at too high a temperature can cause the proteins in the meat to separate, resulting in ugly white droplets. It won’t harm the taste but doesn’t look very appealing.

By the way, we’re using beechwood as the smoking wood. It imparts a mild smoky flavour that’s great for fish.

After about an hour, the salmon looks like this. It already looks delicious, but you’ll need a little more patience.

We remove the skin from the bottom of the salmon, and then the entire salmon is placed on a Turkish bread spread with pesto. You could serve it now, but we’re not doing that yet.

We’ve also spread herbed butter on the bread and sprinkled it with fresh herbs. Then, the bread goes back on the grill to be toasted.

This is our smoked salmon on Turkish bread. Let us know if you decide to make this sandwich in the comments below. Even better, please take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqhelden so we can see what you’ve created.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Turkish bread
  • Pepper and salt
  • 700 grams of fresh salmon
  • 200 grams of herbed butter
  • 20 grams of fresh Italian herbs
  • 1 lemon
  • 150 grams of pesto

Instructions

  1. Season the salmon with pepper and salt, and coat it with half of the herbed butter.
  2. Chop the Italian herbs finely and sprinkle half of them over the salmon.
  3. Slice the lemon into thin rounds and distribute them over the salmon.
  4. Prepare a barbecue for indirect heat at 150°C (302F) (lower is also fine) and add a small chunk of smoke wood. Place the salmon on the grill, insert a core thermometer, and close the lid. Smoke the salmon until it reaches a core temperature of 60°C (140F).
  5. Slice the bread in half and spread the pesto on it. Place the salmon on the pesto and remove the lemon slices. Cover the salmon with the other half of the bread.
  6. Spread the bread with the remaining herbed butter and sprinkle it with the fresh herbs.
  7. Warm the bread for a few minutes until the butter has melted and the bread is nicely toasted.

Texas Style Brisket with Coffee Rub

We’ll be honest; brisket is one of the most challenging cuts of meat to prepare. There are so many factors to consider that it can be daunting for a novice. After preparing several briskets with mixed results, we’ve found a recipe that consistently delivers top-notch results.

This Texas-style brisket recipe has been made and tested multiple times by friends, family, and neighbours. What you need is a butcher who can provide you with the right meat, a smoker that can maintain a stable temperature for several hours, a thermometer, a meat injection syringe, a spray bottle, and ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen or can easily find in any supermarket.

The result is an incredibly juicy, tender, and flavorful brisket that you’ll proudly showcase and share at your next BBQ party. Read on, and we’ll provide you with all the tips you need for an amazing brisket. If you’re more experienced or not much of a reader, jump straight to the recipe using the link below.

Let’s start with the meat. This is a grain-fed whole-packer brisket. The key term here is grain-fed. This meat comes from cows that have been fattened on grains and corn during their last months. The meat from these cows is generally more tender and fattier than completely grass-fed cows.

You can recognize this meat by the thin white lines of soft fat running through the dark meat. This intramuscular fat is the first step to a great result.

We’ll trim the brisket, meaning we’ll cut away some of the fat on the outside, specifically the tough and thick fat layers. We’ll leave the soft fat that’s at most a few millimetres thick. We’ve found that this fat protects against the smoke’s direct heat and helps the meat cook more evenly.

To add extra moisture to the meat, we’ll inject the brisket. Since we’ll be smoking the brisket for somewhere between 10 and 12 hours, a lot of moisture will be pushed out of the meat. So, to keep as much moisture in the meat as possible, we’ll inject it.

We’re using a meat injection needle, a thick syringe with a large side hole in the needle. We’ve prepared a mixture of beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and water. Water is essential, and the rest adds extra flavour.

We fill the syringe and then insert the needle deep into the meat without going through it. As we slowly withdraw the needle, we inject the liquid into the meat. You’ll quickly notice when the needle is about to exit the meat because the liquid will spray over the countertop, your pants, and your shirt.

That’s why we keep one hand over the needle and cover it as it emerges. It saves a lot of mess and swearing. Inject liquid into various spots until the brisket can’t take in any more. We also inject the brisket in an oven tray because, at some point, you’ll notice the liquid flowing out from all sides, indicating it’s full.

In the morning, when the brisket goes into the smoker, we’ll sprinkle it with a generous layer of the coffee dry rub. Texas is known for its BBQ, which traditionally relies on salt and pepper to season the meat. However, Texas is vast, and there has been experimentation with different flavours for years.

The base of this rub still consists of salt and black pepper, but we’ve found that adding other flavours and coffee powder only enhances the taste of the brisket. We don’t let the rub sit for hours because it will have plenty of time to meld with the meat’s surface while it’s in the smoker.

The authentic wood for smoking in Texas is mesquite, which imparts a strong smoky flavour but can become bitter if overused. This brisket will be in the smoker for about 4 hours before we wrap it, so we use hickory smoke pellets that are milder in smoke flavour.

Hickory’s flavour, in our opinion, is the most classic American smoky flavour. While it may not be specific to Texas, no one will complain when they taste the end result.

Before placing the brisket on the grates, we do a few things. First, we put a couple of aluminium drip pans under the grill. Otherwise, the brisket’s fat will drip into the kettle, creating a mess you’ll have to clean up. We also place a few chunks of smoking wood on the grates.

The chunks of wood will cause the brisket to bulge slightly and ensure that there is no pool of moisture on the surface. You want the dry rub to mix with the meat’s fat and the smoker’s smoke to create a bark, a dark brown flavorful crust on the outside of the brisket.

Those pools of liquid can prevent the bark from forming properly. We’re striving for a perfect result using these wood chunks.

After about 2 hours, the bark has formed. You can test this by rubbing a bit of the crust. If it’s firmly attached, it’s time to start spritzing the meat with water. We do this whenever the brisket’s surface dries out.

Moistening the outside of the brisket slows down the cooking process and prevents the crust from burning. It also helps the meat absorb more smoke, enhancing the smoky flavour.

You can experiment with other liquids besides water. For instance, you can create a mixture of water and apple juice, whiskey, or vinegar to give the bark a unique flavour.

When the brisket reaches an internal temperature of around 65°C (149F), we wrap it. The meat releases the most moisture at this point, keeping the surface quite damp. While that’s not harmful, it can stall the temperature increase for a long time. This period is known as “the stall” and can last for hours.

Wrapping still allows moisture to continue coming out of the brisket, but it doesn’t lose heat because there’s no airflow around the meat. Think of it like putting on a jacket after exercising.

We insert the probe through the aluminium and into the meat. Then, we close the lid and set the smoker to 150°C (302F).

The brisket is ready when its internal temperature is somewhere between 95 and 99°C (203 to 210F). To check if it’s done, insert the thermometer probe or a skewer into the meat. If it goes in and out with minimal resistance, the brisket is ready to be removed from the smoker and allowed to rest.

After resting, we unwrapped the brisket and started slicing. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. You’ll see a beautiful thick smoke ring and incredibly juicy meat.

The smoke ring is a chemical process we’d love to explain extensively on another page. The juicy meat comes from choosing the right cut of meat and injecting the brisket.

We’ve unpacked the brisket into an oven tray. On one hand, because there’s a lot of moisture coming out of the packaging, we don’t want that on the ground. On the other hand, because we want to preserve that moisture.

We pour the moisture into a canning jar and put it in the refrigerator. After a while, the fat from the moisture will float to the top, and you can skim it off. You can use that fat instead of butter for cooking. Try frying some potatoes in it, and you won’t believe the flavour.

We use the remaining moisture to reheat the brisket. We love barbecue, but a hefty brisket is quickly around 9 pounds, and we can’t eat all of that at once.

You do the so-called bend test to test how tender and juicy your brisket is. Cut a slice of brisket about half a centimetre thick and lay it over your finger. The idea is that the meat bends smoothly without breaking but can easily be pulled apart.

Of course, you can also test this by eating it, but it looks better on Instagram this way.

This is our Texas-style brisket with a dry coffee rub. We’ve sliced the thicker part and cubed the thinner part. You could also make burnt ends from these cubes by putting them back in the smoker with a thick layer of barbecue sauce. The sauce will caramelize, giving you very tasty meat treats.

Are you going to make this Texas Style brisket too? Let us know in the comments below. Or even better! Please take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqhelden so we can see what you’ve made.

Ingredients

  • One whole packer grain-fed brisket

For injection

  • 100 ml beef stock
  • 25 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 50 ml soy sauce
  • 500 ml water

For the rub

  • 2 parts salt
  • 2 parts black pepper
  • 1 part garlic granules
  • 1 part coffee powder
  • 1 part onion granules
  • 1/2 part Chipotle powder

Instructions

  1. Remove tough pieces of fat and any layer thicker than a few millimetres from the meat.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the injection liquid and inject it into the brisket. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Mix all ingredients for the dry rub and sprinkle an even layer over all sides of the meat.
  4. Prepare a barbecue for smoking with a kettle temperature of 120ºC (248F). Place the brisket on the grate and close the lid.
  5. After about an hour or two of smoking, check if the rub has adhered to the meat. From that moment on, spray the outside of the meat with water. Repeat this every 20 minutes or when the outside becomes dry again.
  6. Once the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 65ºC (149ºF), spray it well one more time. Then, wrap it in a double layer of aluminium foil and place it back in the barbecue.
  7. Insert a thermometer into the meat and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 95 to 99ºC (203 to 210ºF) or until the meat is tender enough.
  8. Let it rest wrapped for at least half an hour before slicing it into beautiful slices.

Smoked Coffee Burger

As we’ve understood, we, and many others, are always on the hunt for the ultimate burger. With this coffee burger, we’re getting close.

Adding a generous spoonful of coffee powder to the ground beef creates a deep, fantastic flavour that pairs exceptionally well with a thick burger. Give it a try, and we can talk about it later.

For 500 grams of meat, one hefty tablespoon of coffee powder should suffice. You can choose the type of coffee you prefer. We’re not coffee drinkers, but we always have coffee for guests – nothing fancy, just regular coffee.

However, we’ve been experimenting more with coffee and cocoa powder and are constantly amazed at how well these flavours complement barbecue.

We leave nothing to chance and place a block of aged cheese in the middle of the burger. This will melt, creating an inside-out cheeseburger. These burgers end up quite thick – although it’s unnecessary, we prefer it that way when we smoke them.

In American BBQ, pepper and salt are the ultimate flavour enhancers. We roll these burgers on the sides through a mix of 50/50 coarsely ground black pepper and sea salt. Don’t worry about the burger becoming overly salty – most of the salt will fall off once it imparts its flavour, and black pepper develops an almost sweet and spicy taste when smoked.

The burgers spend an hour in the fridge to firm up and then go onto our Kamado Joe.
We insert a thermometer into one of the thick burgers and smoke them with a piece of cherry wood until they reach a core temperature of 70°C (158F). This can take about an hour.

You’ll see these beautiful, reddish-brown burgers when you open the lid.

We used fatty ground beef, ensuring a juicy burger after smoking. If you use regular ground beef, you can place a frozen cube of butter next to the cheese to help with juiciness.

This is our smoked coffee burger, served on a cheese and onion bun with arugula, tomato, and red onion. No sauce is needed – this burger stands on its own.

Will you give this coffee burger a try? Let us know in the comments below. Or even better, take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqhelden so we can see what you’ve created.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams of ground beef
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 hefty tablespoon ground coffee
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 100 grams of aged cheese
  • 50/50 mixture of black pepper and sea salt
  • 2 beautiful buns
  • arugula
  • tomato
  • red onion

Instructions

  1. Mix the ground beef with Worcestershire sauce, coffee powder, and garlic granules.
  2. Shape the mixture into 4 patties, flattening them slightly larger than the buns you’ve acquired.
  3. Place a cube of cheese on two patties, then top them with the other patties, sealing the edges.
  4. Spread the black pepper and salt on a plate and roll the burger sides through it. Let them chill in the fridge for an hour.
  5. Prepare a barbecue with an indirect temperature of 150°C (302F) and a chunk of smoking wood.
  6. Place the burgers on the grill, insert a thermometer, and smoke them until they reach a core temperature of 70°C (158F).
  7. Assemble the buns with arugula, burger, tomato, and red onion.

Portuguese Trinchado from the barbecue

A delicious barbecue stew is one of my favourite preparations over an open fire. Adding various ingredients in measured quantities in a specific order to a cast-iron pan ensures that all the flavours shine. The backyard fills with that delightful aroma as the stew simmers for a few short hours.

The added red wine in this Trinchado ensures that this aroma is truly present. Any leftover wine, of course, can be enjoyed in the sunshine while preparing this dish.

First, let me tell you a bit more about this Trinchado. This originally classic Portuguese stew is also famous in Africa after migrants took the recipe to Angola and Mozambique.

The beef stew benefits from marinating in soy sauce and, during cooking, from red wine, garlic, and red pepper. Like any good stew, the meat in this Trinchado becomes beautifully tender and falls apart.

I recommend using flank steak for this dish instead of traditional cuts like ribeye, or chuck. The slightly coarser texture of flank steak, combined with the tenderness from stewing, will surprise you.

Traditionally, Trinchado is served with Portuguese rolls, but thick-cut fries are also a great option.

This is Portuguese Trinchado. If you decide to make this delicious stew, let us know in the comments below. Even better, please take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqheroes so we can see what you’ve created.

Ingredients

  • 750 grams of bavette
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 100 grams of butter
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 200 ml of beef broth
  • 500 ml of red wine (preverably Portuguese)flank steak

Instructions

  1. Cut the flank steak into cubes and place them in a bowl with soy sauce, pepper, salt, and smoked paprika.
  2. Remove the seeds from the red pepper and thinly slice it into rings. Add the red pepper to the bowl and stir everything with a spoon to ensure the meat is well coated with this marinade’s ingredients. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1-2 hours.
  3. Finely chop the onion and garlic.
  4. Prepare the barbecue for indirect cooking at 150ºC (302ºF). Place the grill grate and the Dutch oven. Adding a little water to the pan lets you immediately tell if it’s hot enough.
  5. Melt 50 grams of butter in the Dutch oven and brown half of the steak cubes. Remove this meat with tongs and then brown the other half. Keep the soy sauce and red pepper mixture in which the bavette was marinated.
  6. Add another 50 grams of butter to the pan and use a wooden spatula to scrape any bits from the bottom. Add the onions and sauté them until they become translucent in a few minutes. After that, you can briefly sauté the garlic.
  7. Sprinkle three tablespoons of flour over the onions and sauté briefly. Carefully add beef broth and stir for 2 minutes until a thick sauce forms.
  8. Pour in the wine and stir the mixture. Return the meat to the pan and pour in the reserved marinade.
  9. Once the stew begins to simmer, place the Dutch oven for indirect cooking. For a kamado barbecue, you may need to use a plate setter.
  10. The stew will gently simmer at a stable kettle temperature of about 150ºC (302ºF). Cover the Dutch oven and close the barbecue.
  11. After an hour, it’s essential to check not only for meat tenderness but also for the thickness of the stew and to stir everything. When the meat falls apart nicely, you can thicken the Trinchado by removing the lid from the pan and allowing it to simmer a little longer.

Shawarma Smash burger with Cheese

This Shawarma smash burger is a modified recipe we came across at Miznon restaurant in New York. It’s a fantastic combination of flavours and textures, made genuinely unique by grilled cheese.

We create meatballs from approximately 120 grams of ground meat, seasoned with our own shawarma spices, excluding the salt. We always salt the burgers just before grilling. We noticed the burgers became stiffer when we salted them up front.

This is not good for a regular burger and is even more crucial for this smashburger, which we will fold.

The principle of a smash burger is quite simple. You start with a scorching hot griddle and a meatball. We’re using ground beef with a 30% fat ratio, so there’s no need to grease the griddle. Of course, it’s essential to have a clean griddle. If it’s a cast iron skillet, it should be well-seasoned.

You then press the meatball flat with a large burger spatula. To apply extra pressure, we use tongs. We use a sheet of parchment paper to prevent the meat from sticking to the spatula.

Once the burger is nicely flattened, remove the parchment paper. You’ll see that a crust is already forming. This is when we sprinkle the burger with some salt and add the cheese to half the burger.

Then, you fold the burger over the meat and continue to cook until the meat is thoroughly done and the cheese is nicely grilled in spots. This alone is enough to make this recipe a summer hit.

The smash burger is then placed on a warm, soft pita with all the ingredients found in a shawarma sandwich. This is our Shawarma smash burger with cheese. If you decide to make this smash burger, let us know in the comments below. Even better, could you take a photo and post it on Instagram? Tag @bbqheroes and @kamadojoe so we can see what you’ve created.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams of ground beef
  • 200 grams of grated cheese
  • 4 pita bread
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Garlic sauce
  • Sea salt

For the dry rub

  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp garlic granules
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix the ingredients for the dry rub and add one tablespoon of it to the ground meat. Mix everything thoroughly and form four equal balls. Place them in the refrigerator while you prepare the barbecue.
  2. Set up the barbecue for direct heat using a grill griddle, plancha, or cast iron skillet.
  3. Press the meatball as flat as possible on the griddle and wait for a crust to form. Sprinkle the burger with some salt and warm up the pita bread simultaneously.
  4. Place about 50 grams of grated cheese on half of the burger and fold the burger over the meat.
  5. Let the burger sit briefly and flip until the cheese has melted and perhaps turned slightly grilled.
  6. Slice open the pita bread and fill it with the shawarma smashburger, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, and, of course, garlic sauce.

Smoked pulled chicken

We often receive questions about how we would make pulled chicken. The truth is, we don’t usually make pulled chicken, but when we do, we make it super juicy.

For us, pulled chicken is just incredibly succulent chicken, and we know exactly how to prepare that, and now you will too.

We will smoke this chicken low and slow to give the meat the most flavour. Because the chicken will be slowly cooked, there’s a greater chance that the meat will dry out, especially the breast meat. That’s why we’re going to brine the chicken. We used store-bought brining salt this time, but you can also make it yourself. The simplest brine is 1 litre of water with 60 grams of salt. Afterwards, you can add all sorts of herbs and spices for extra flavour.

We first boil 330 ml of water and put 660 ml in the freezer. We dissolve the brine in the boiling water. Then, we add the ice-cold water to the salt water to cool down immediately for use.

We’ve heard that the brine water makes the chicken juicy, but that’s not the case. Only the salt will penetrate the meat cells during brining and hold the moisture better there. So, during cooking, less moisture will be released from the chicken, making it 30% juicier than unbrined chicken.

After brining, we pat the chicken dry and coat it with a thick layer of dry rub. This is our chicken dry rub, but you can use your favourite dry rub.

We use Hickory as the smoking wood. Hickory is usually too heavy for chicken, but because we smoke at a slightly higher temperature, we get a light smoke. And chicken doesn’t need to smoke for as long, so it turns out just right.

We insert a probe into the chicken breast and set it to 75°C (167°F). The legs and wings, being lower and closer to the heat, will reach around 85°C (185°F). That’s the perfect temperature for the fattier parts of the chicken.

These are also the target temperatures we usually aim for when cooking chicken. So, it’s unnecessary to cook chicken beyond the usual target temperatures as you do with pork or beef.

Chicken is naturally tender enough to pull apart. Especially if you’ve let the chicken brine overnight. Cook the breast to 70-75°C (158-167°F) and the legs to 85°C (185°F), and the result is fall-off-the-bone chicken.

Now, let the chicken rest in a roasting pan covered with aluminium foil. After resting for 10 to 15 minutes, you can pull the chicken. You can try it with your bare hands, but the meat is still scorching hot. Combined with the fact that it’s also super juicy, it’s extra hot. So, you better use two forks.

While pulling the chicken, the dry rub on the skin of the chicken mixes with the meat and imparts its flavour. Afterwards, we discarded the skin because it hadn’t dried out properly.

After pulling, we pour some barbecue sauce over the meat. This is our sweet and spicy BBQ sauce that goes wonderfully with this pulled chicken.

You can make 4 to 5 generously filled pulled chicken sandwiches from the meat of one chicken. Let us know if you will make this pulled chicken in the comments below. Or better yet! Please take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqhelden so we can see what you’ve made.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken

For the brine

  • 1 litre of water for every 60 grams of salt
  • Your favourite BBQ sauce or ours

For the dry rub

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin (Djintan)
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Make the brine by boiling the water. Dissolve the salt in it and let it cool to at least room temperature.
  2. Place the chicken in a container or a ziplock bag that can hold it. Pour the brine over the chicken until it is completely submerged.
  3. Let the chicken sit in the refrigerator for a night or up to two days.
  4. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Sprinkle a generous and even layer of dry rub on all sides.
  5. Prepare a barbecue for smoking at an indirect temperature between 140 and 150ºC (284-302ºF). Place the chicken on the grill with the breast side up. Insert a thermometer into the breast and close the lid.
  6. Cook the chicken until it reaches a core temperature between 70 and 75ºC (158-167ºF), then let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
  7. Pull the meat from the bones with two forks and pour some BBQ sauce over it. Mix it and use the pulled chicken to fill your sandwiches.

Barbecue Paella

When we’re on holiday on the Spanish coast, we always look for a restaurant that makes fresh paella. Not the kind of paella that’s quickly reheated in the microwave. We’re seeking a large pan of yellow rice cooking over an open fire on a market square. That’s usually the best paella.

By the way, the holiday paella isn’t considered a proper paella, according to the Valencians. Authentic paella is made with chicken, rabbit, and beans. In Valencia, they call the paella they serve to tourists “arroz al horno con cosas,” which translates to baked rice with stuff. It sounds very Spanish but is harder to remember than paella.

In our backyard, on our grill, we’ve made a fantastic tourist paella with chorizo and shrimp, and it’s genuinely Spanish and delicious.

We start with a skillet and olive oil to roast a few cherry tomatoes. These tomatoes are delicious as a side dish and easy to make. Cut a few tomatoes in half, sprinkle them with fresh herbs, salt, and pepper, and just let them sit until they become soft.

Around the small cast-iron pan, you’ll find a few chorizo sausages slowly cooking. We know chorizo has no place in authentic paella, but it tastes good.

The rice we use for paella is called Arborio rice. It’s a short, thick rice grain with low starch content. This means the rice will stick less during cooking. We first toast the grain in a dry pan to make it even drier. The rice will absorb the broth more quickly, resulting in a thicker rice texture.

This is a steel paella pan with a diameter of 34 cm (13.4 inches). It fits perfectly on our Kamado Joe Classic. You can make enough paella for six people or four hungry eaters in this pan. Just be aware that the pan isn’t stainless steel, so it should be well-greased when stored to prevent rust.

What is Saffron

In addition to the broth, we flavour the rice with paprika, garlic, onion, pepper, salt, and saffron. Saffron is a part of the saffron crocus’s stigma. Each saffron crocus has only three stigmas, and saffron is hand-separated from them. This is a small can with 2 grams of saffron, which requires 300 flowers. Now you understand why saffron is so expensive.

We covered the rice in the pan with aluminium foil so that the steam helped cook the rice. This way, the dry rice grain absorbs all the broth.

Besides the pan with rice, we’re indirectly grilling some shrimp. These are black tiger shrimp without heads but with shells that’ve already been cleaned. We do this because it looks better in the paella. The shell also protects the meat from too much direct heat. However, at the edges of the grill on a Kamado, you don’t need to worry much about that.

You’ll know the shrimp are done when the meat is no longer translucent. If you want to measure it, the safe-to-eat temperature is 58°C (136°F). If you’re still unsure, don’t worry. They will be heated again with the rest of the paella.

After the rice has steamed for 20 minutes, remove the foil and stir everything with a handful of frozen peas. Then, place the shrimp, tomatoes, and sausage on top of the rice and warm everything up for a few more minutes. This is also the moment to gather everyone at the table.

This is our “arroz al horno con cosas” that we like to call paella. If you decide to make this paella, let us know in the comments below. Even better, could you take a photo and post it on Instagram? Tag @bbqhelden so we can see what you’ve created.

Ingredients

  • 400 grams Arborio rice
  • 1 litre of chicken broth
  • 2 tsp saffron threads
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A handful of fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, and oregano
  • 150 grams of frozen peas
  • Small chorizo sausages
  • 8 large prawns
  • Some olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare a barbecue with a temperature of about 200°C (392°F). By the way, your barbecue should have a lid. Place a cast-iron skillet on the barbecue and pour in some olive oil. Cut the tomatoes in half and place them in the skillet. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over them as well.
  2. Finely chop the fresh herbs and sprinkle them over the tomatoes with some salt and pepper. Close the lid and let the tomatoes become soft. Grill the sausages next to the tomatoes.
  3. Meanwhile, brush some olive oil over the prawns and season them with salt and pepper. When the tomatoes are soft and the sausages are cooked, you can remove them from the grill to cool.
  4. Place a paella pan on the barbecue and pour the rice into it. Let it cook for 5 minutes. Then, pour in the broth. Add saffron, paprika, onion, garlic, and salt and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and steam the rice for 20 minutes.
  5. Grill the prawns next to the rice until they are no longer translucent, and then immediately remove them from the grill.
  6. Remove the aluminium foil from the pan and taste the rice to see if it is al dente. Then add the frozen peas to the rice and mix everything well. Distribute the prawns and sausage pieces over the rice. Drizzle some olive oil over the rice and cook for a few more minutes until everything is heated.

Bean dish with apple syrup and coffee

We don’t just call a bean dish great without a good reason. Of course, we made delicious bean dishes, which were very tasty. But for this recipe, we used two ingredients that genuinely make this bean dish exceptional.

In authentic Mexican bean dishes, they add molasses. Molasses is a syrupy byproduct of sugar production from sugar beets. Molasses have different qualities, with some becoming progressively bitter. You can find it quite easily these days, often in speciality stores. The tastiest molasses is slightly more acidic than Dutch Stroop and has a distant maltiness, reminiscent of the Guinness factories in Dublin, which in turn reminds us of roasted coffee beans.

Instead of molasses, we made this recipe several times with varying amounts of Dutch Apple Stroop and coffee powder. Outside of The Netherlands, you can use apple syrup. After a few experiments, we believe this bean dish is unique enough to feature on our website.

We prepared a classic dry rub with dark brown sugar and salt for the pork belly that goes into the bean dish. What we’ll do is brine the meat overnight. The salt in the rub will penetrate the meat, seasoning it, while the sugar and the rest of the spices will stick to the surface, creating a lovely crust. You can make this crust as delightful as you wish.

When we smoke the pork belly, we place a whole garlic bulb next to the meat. We do this almost every time we smoke meat. Smoked garlic is genuinely delicious and has a less intense taste than fresh garlic. Half of the bulb will go into the bean dish, and you can store the other half in a bit of oil in a well-sealed bag or container.

You can enhance the flavour of any sauce or soup with smoked garlic. You can also spread it on a piece of bread. This stuff is fantastic.

After about three hours, the pork belly reaches an internal temperature of 70°C (158°F). The meat also has a beautiful smoky colour. In essence, you’ve now made bacon. This piece of pork belly weighed over 900 grams, far more than needed for this bean dish. So, we cut off half for later use.

In the meantime, we’ve placed a Dutch Oven on the grill. In it, we sauté the onions, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, and garlic. Then, we stir-fry the tomato paste and apple syrup.

Finally, we squeeze half of the garlic cloves from the smoked bulb. You can easily flatten the cloves with a spoon and stir them in. Before it burns, add the broth and tomatoes and continue with the next step.

This is the ingredient that makes this bean dish exceptional. A few generous scoops of coffee powder give this bean dish a malt-like bitterness without making it taste like coffee. Combined with the sweetness of apple syrup and cumin, you get an authentically delicious bean dish.

We’ve sliced the smoked pork belly into roughly one-centimetre slices and grilled them on both sides until they developed a nice grill colour. Then, we diced them and let them simmer with the beans.

You can enjoy the bean dish immediately, but it gets even better if you reheat the beans. The flavour only improves, and the colour becomes darker. We served it with a generous dollop of crème fraîche and fresh coriander if you like.

If you decide to make this bean dish, let us know in the comments below. Even better, please take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqhelden so we can see what you’ve created.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams pork belly, skin removed

For the Dry Rub

  • 1.5 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic granules
  • 2 tsp onion granules

For the Bean Dish

  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic or 6 smoked garlic cloves
  • A little olive oil
  • 2 large white onions, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 150 grams carrots, chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 70 grams of tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp apple syrup
  • 400 ml chicken broth
  • 400 grams peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp ground coffee
  • 1 tbsp chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 500 grams of black or kidney beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the dry rub and sprinkle it on all sides of the pork belly. Place the meat in a ziplock bag and let it sit in the refrigerator for one to two days.
  2. Slice the top of a garlic bulb and pour some olive oil over it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare a barbecue for smoking at around 120°C (248°F). Place the garlic bulb and pork belly on the grate. Insert a thermometer into the meat and close the lid. Smoke the pork belly for about 3 hours at 120°C (248°F) until it reaches an internal temperature of 70°C (158°F).
  4. Place a Dutch Oven on the barbecue and add some oil to the pot. Add the chopped white onion and let it become soft and golden brown.
  5. Then, add the bell pepper, jalapeño peppers, carrots, and garlic. Afterwards, stir-fry the tomato paste and apple syrup without allowing it to burn.
  6. Pour in the broth, then add the peeled tomatoes and beans. Finally, add the coffee, chipotle pepper, and cumin powder. Let it simmer for about half an hour.
  7. Meanwhile, slice the pork belly into one-centimetre slices. Grill these slices on both sides and then cut them into cubes.
  8. Add the pork belly cubes to the beans and let them simmer for another half hour.
     

Shawarma of lamb leg

In the Netherlands, most shawarma is made from pork. But authentic shawarma is originally made from lamb. Large slices of lamb shoulder and leg are skewered and grilled all around. Then, thin strips are cut from it, which you stuff into a pita.

We rarely make enough shawarma to be able to skewer it on a spit, but we wanted to make authentic shawarma once.

We found this 2-kilo lamb leg at our local butcher. It came with the bone, but that was no problem. We can easily remove it. Just follow the bone with a flexible fillet knife so as little meat as possible is lost. Always cut away from your other hand so the blade doesn’t accidentally end up in that hand.

If you find this too challenging, you can ask your butcher to do it.

Then, we trim the silver skin and tough pieces of fat from the meat. Since we will grill the meat quickly in thin strips, the tough fat won’t have time to become tender and will only create flare-ups.

We remove the silver skin because we will season the meat, and the silver skin would only prevent these seasonings from reaching the meat.

After that, we slice the pieces of lamb leg into slices about a centimetre 1/2 inch) thick. Slightly thicker or thinner is also fine. Just keep in mind that different thicknesses will have different cooking times.

We use our shawarma spice mix for this lamb, which we’ve slightly adjusted. The old blend was already good, but we found the taste even better with different proportions.

We grill the lamb on both sides without letting the seasoning burn. It’s a matter of watching it and flipping it in time. That’s what makes it fun to do.

We place the pieces of lamb already done at the edge of the kettle, where it’s slightly cooler, to make room for warming up the pita bread. Three minutes on each side is enough.

We thinly slice the grilled pieces of lamb leg against the grain and stuff them into the pita bread. Add some lettuce, tomato, and cucumber, and of course, all it needs now is a big dollop of garlic sauce.

This is our lamb leg shawarma. Let us know in the comments below if you decide to make it. Even better, please take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqhelden so we can see what you’ve created.

Ingredients

  • Leg of lamb
  • Pita bread
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Green peppers
  • Garlic sauce

For the Shoarma Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp garlic granules
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Remove the bone from the lamb leg and trim away the silver skin and tough pieces of fat. Then, cut the loose meat into slices about a centimetre thick.
  2. Mix the shawarma spice mix ingredients and sprinkle an even layer on both sides of the meat. Let it marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Prepare a barbecue for grilling. Place the slices of lamb leg on the grate and grill the meat on both sides until it reaches an internal temperature of 65-70°C (149-158°F). Meanwhile, warm up the pita bread.
  4. Slice the slices of lamb leg into thin strips and cut open the pita bread.
  5. Fill the pita bread with the meat and anything else you like.

Skirt Steak Fajitas in Beer Marinade

Skirt steak fajitas are an easy and delightful weekday barbecue recipe. We marinated the skirt steak in beer a day before to make them tender and flavorful.

Alongside the meat, we sautéed some onions and peppers and warmed up some tortillas. The entire recipe was prepared in just 20 minutes on the grill.

This is skirt steak, the cow’s diaphragm that runs from the chest through the flank to the rear end. You can tell from its thick grain that it’s genuinely a working muscle. This gives the meat a fantastic flavour but also makes it tough. We resolve this by marinating it and slicing it in a particular way after grilling.

Before marinating the skirt steak, we must clean it up. We trim away thick pieces of fat and silver skin. The silver skin can especially hinder the marinade from penetrating as deep into the meat as we’d like.

In the marinade, we include a few dried peppers. This is a Pasilla pepper, which is relatively mild but has a typical raisin-like flavour. We first lightly toasted the pepper in a skillet and then soaked it in hot water for half an hour.

After that, the peppers become pliable, and you can further process them. We remove the seeds and membranes since we’re mainly interested in the flavour of the peppers. Then, we chop them fine in the food processor along with a few garlic cloves.

We cut the skirt steak into smaller pieces of about 20 centimetres before it goes into the marinade. Smaller pieces are easier to grill.

First, we grill the skirt steak on both sides until it achieves a beautiful colour. A little black char here and there is fine, but don’t overdo it.

Then, we place the meat on the upper grill grate to keep it warm and allow it to continue cooking slightly. Meanwhile, we stir-fry the bell peppers and onions in a cast-iron skillet. If the skillet is hot enough, 10 minutes will be enough.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the grill, we heat the tortillas on the glazed grill stone. This also happens quickly, so this will be the moment to gather everyone around the dining table.

The trick to making skirt steak tender is partly the marinade, but even more critical is the slicing. The meat has thick bundles of muscles running through it. You need to cut those bundles shorter to make them easier to chew. This causes the meat almost to fall apart, making it much easier to chew.

This is our beer-marinated skirt steak fajitas. We serve them with lime wedges and some feta cheese crumbles. Let us know if you decide to make these fajitas in the comments below. Please take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqhelden so we can see what you’ve created.

Ingredients

  • Skirt steak
  • Small tortilla pancakes

For the Marinade

  • 3 mild dried peppers
  • Half a bottle of dark beer
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce)

For the Vegetables

  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1 large white onion
  • A bit of olive oil
  • Half of the above marinade
  • The rest of the beer
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Toast the dried peppers briefly in a skillet, then soak them in hot water for about half an hour until they become soft.
  2. Meanwhile, remove tough pieces of fat and silver skin from the skirt steak and cut the meat into lengths of about 20 cm.
  3. Remove the seeds and membranes from the now soft peppers and combine them with garlic in a food processor. Process them finely and mix them with the beer and ketjap manis.
  4. Pour half of the marinade into a ziplock bag with the meat and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours up to overnight.
  5. Mix the remaining marinade with the rest of the beer and salt.
  6. Prepare a barbecue for grilling and, in the meantime, thinly slice the bell peppers and onion.
  7. Grill the pieces of skirt steak on both sides until they have a nice colour. Then, place them indirectly on the grill to keep the meat warm.
  8. Let a cast-iron skillet heat up with a bit of olive oil. Stir-fry the peppers and onions, then add the beer sauce and let it simmer for a while.
  9. Slice the skirt steak across the grain into thin slices and heat the tortillas. Serve everything with lime wedges and feta cheese crumbles.

Chicken Kebabs with Pineapple and Onion

When summer arrives, it’s time to start skewering all sorts of delicious creations. This time, we’ve threaded marinated chicken thighs onto skewers with fresh pineapple and onions—a fantastic combination, especially when paired with the marinade that doubles as a sauce.

We cut each chicken thigh into three pieces because it keeps them extra juicy. The marinade is incredibly easy, primarily consisting of ketjap (sweet soy sauce), sugar, and ginger. This gives the chicken an almost Eastern flavour that pairs beautifully with the pineapple. We let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for about 4 hours but overnight works just fine if that suits your schedule better.

We use long, flat metal skewers, which help keep the chicken and pineapple in place without spinning around when you turn the skewers. Be sure not to overload the skewers; there’s always a part of the grill hotter than the rest, which can cause uneven cooking along the length of the skewer. Start and finish each skewer with smaller pieces.

We grill these skewers on our Kamado Joe Classic 3. The grill’s height is greater than other kamados, providing enough space between the glowing coals and the grill grates. This allows the chicken to cook slowly without the risk of overcooking.

While turning the chicken skewers, keep a close eye on which part of the skewer is cooking faster. By flipping and shifting the skewers, you can ensure that the entire skewer cooks evenly and they’re all ready simultaneously.

Of course, we don’t rely solely on visuals to determine doneness. We want to know precisely how cooked the chicken is. That’s why we regularly insert the Thermapen One thermometer into the meat to check. If the chicken reaches above 70°C (158°F), we know it’s done, and we don’t have to worry about anyone eating undercooked chicken.

At the end, we brush the chicken with the remaining marinade. This layers on the flavour and makes the chicken deliciously sticky. We let the sauce caramelize for a few minutes, and then it’s time to dig in.

These are our chicken kebabs with pineapple and onion. If you decide to make them, let us know in the comments below. Even better, could you take a photo and post it on Instagram? Tag @bbqhelden so we can see what you’ve created.

Ingredients

  • 1 kilogram of chicken thighs
  • Fresh pineapple
  • 2 white onions

For the Sauce

  • 75 ml ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • A dash of sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Mix the sauce ingredients and cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Place half of the sauce and the chicken thighs in a ziplock bag and marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours to overnight.
  3. Thread the chicken, along with pieces of onion and fresh pineapple, onto skewers.
  4. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and grill, turning them until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 75°C (167°F).
  5. Brush the skewers with extra sauce in the last few minutes and allow it to caramelize.