Dirty Gertie - the acknowledgement

Well, Spring arrived about a month and a half ago. In actuality, it officially came on Tuesday, March 20th at 12:15pm. That's right, you woke up that winter morning and then - BOOM - the times changed during lunch. Spring arrived. Don't worry, I didn't really feel it either. Looking out my window that day, this is what I saw:

 

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Ahhhhhh - the "wintery" white stuff called snow. During times like this, my mom always reminds me about some Easter back in the 70s when in late April, she could not make it from Connecticut to New Jersey because of a snow storm. Personally, being stuck in gray Connecticut is what I find the saddest part of that story. The snow actually brought a happy glow to that area (Sorry, I'm an Eagles fan and I know what stadium is up there). Anyway, that's snow on my grill. Sooooooo - bottomline, it's Spring and I'm not using my grill yet. After the snow finally left town, it then seemed like every "grill cleaning" planned weekend was like this:

 

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  or this  

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Obviously, that's the grill getting rained on in the one picture.  As for the other one - that captures my boy and I at his little league game.  I help coach.  There's a lot of games.  FYI - we like the Phillies, not the Marlins - it's just his little league team.  Nevertheless, I'm still trying to find time to get that grill cleaned!

 

Also, the grill - that's Gertie, short for Gertrude, but named after the Drew Barrymore character in E.T. What? I'll explain later. And, yes, my son's name is Elliott. Notice a theme? In the meantime, what I'm remembering now is just how dirty Gertie is. It actually never made it out last year for a grilling at our old house, since we were too busy moving to our new house. So, it sat.

 

That's two years of funk . . . just waiting . . . for me.

fun.

Anniversary Grilling (sort of)

Four year anniversary . . . nothing special . . . maybe to others! My wife and I began our day of quad-anniversary celebration by eating a fancy breakfast with our 2-year-old son, Elliott, at Cracker Barrel. Promptly, he treated us as well as the CB staff and paying customers to a shattering display of pancake plate tossing. I never wanted to be that guy (or that dad) where everyone is looking at you because of what someone had just done. Thank goodness my wife was there to savor the moment with me. Nevertheless, next stop was to the movies to see Cars 2. Again, and obviously so, given the movie choice, Elliott joined us. Occasional screaming at the screen and questioning aloud of everything should be expected of someone witnessing his first movie ever, right? We were the last people to leave that theater showing. But - finally - later in the evening, once Elliott’s bath was complete and he was tucked safely away in his “big boy” bed, dinner was about to be created.

It was Date Night: The Home Edition . . . with the baby monitor on! The day before “Our Day”, I had found a recipe in the recent issue of Food and Wine: Gingered Salmon with Grilled Corn and Watercress Salad. Initially, I thought that the corn would be grilled and then the final salmon skewers could be thrown on Ethel, too! I was wrong. We could only grill the corn, which meant Pigskin’s Ethel still made a brief appearance:

The dinner turned out great. Actually, it’s an awesome summer dish that we’ll be having again and again in our household. The ginger that was tucked between the prepped slices on the salmon gave it wonderful flavor. However, be wary, initially we thought the salmon wasn’t cooked all the way - “Oh wait, it’s the ginger!” As for the dressing, it was good all by itself and could easily be used for other salads and dishes. We basically followed the recipe. The “tweaks” we made were as follows: about ⅓ more salmon, 2 less ears of corn, same amount of water cress, and barely the required measurements for the dressing. If it said a teaspoon, we added almost a teaspoon. Sorry - we aren’t practicing gastronomy here.

Side note: Doesn’t “gastronomy” sound like something you get after eating something that wasn’t cooked properly? Or, as my wife claims it to sound like - “The Study of Farts.”

Anyway - you get the basic gist of the dish. The dinner was good and we’ll be making it again, but maybe not on Pigskin Gourmet. However, at least you know that we’re working out Ethel during the off season. In addition, we’re keeping our culinary skills in “shape” for cooking and grilling this upcoming season! Oh yeah, to man-ly up this dish (my request), we shared a big bottle of Hellhound beer - a beverage from Dogfish Head. Beer was good, just sadly not with this meal. Of course, the magazine suggested a certain wine, but as you saw in the picture with the corn grilling on Ethel, beer was popped and we stayed the course with that arena of alcohol. For great wine suggestions always visit, 1 Wine Dude.

The successful dinner of Gingered Salmon with Grilled Corn and Watercress Salad helped make our anniversary a great one - with more dinners and anniversaries to come!

Here’s a final look at the meal. Please note that the images taken in this blog were via the camera on my Blackberry and should not be associated with the dazzling pix of Cecil E Rudd Photography.

Thanksgiving Grilled Maple Roasted Turkey with Apple Cornbread Stuffing

Better late than never! With computer problems we were not able to get this and another episode up in time for Thanksgiving. Even though thanksgiving has passed, we still want you to see what we made and what you missed. The recipe was adapted from this Bobby Flay recipe and you will not only learn how to make this delicious turkey on the grill, you will also learn a ton of facts about turkeys throughout the video.

Grilled Stuffed Apples

With Fall in full swing, we wanted to take advantage of a good harvest of apples and add a little tailgating twist. If you've ever had apple sausage before you will love our version of  Grilled Sausage Stuffed Apples. The sweet and savory taste goes along with a football filled Fall afternoon.

We also made a dessert grilled stuffed apple that features pecans, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and more.

RO-TEL Famous Queso Dip and Homemade Soft Pretzel Sticks

This week RO*TEL® was kind enough to send us a few cans of their Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies and Velveeta cheese so we could give their Famous Queso Dip a try. We needed something to dip in the Queso, so we thought, why not have a go at some homemade Philly soft pretzels?

Since we don't work at the Philly pretzel factory, making a twisted pretzel was out of the question. That's where pretzel sticks come from. And see, you thought we were just being creative! If you know how to make pretzel twist, by all means, go right ahead and make them! But, for us the sticks work. They may not look like the most photogenic thing before you put them in the oven, but they taste and look good when you take them out.

Make sure you head over to RO*TEL and check out all of their other recipes and products as well as their 52 WEEKS OF GROCERIES and a TRIP TO ONE COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME OF YOUR CHOICE CONTEST

Recipes RO-TEL Famous Queso Dip Homemade Soft Pretzels

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites & Spicy Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

There is a thin line between bar and tailgating food and this week we were more on the side of bar food, but we cooked it on the grill so in essence it is tailgating food. You see what I did there? Anyway, if you didn't notice, around Pigskin Gourmet we love bacon wrapped around pretty much anything. While this might not be a main dish for your tailgate, it is a quick flavorful appetizer that will go with a lot of other dishes.

Also, if you don't want to fire up the grill but still want your potatoes wrapped in bacon goodness, check out the recipe that inspired us to make these. Appetizer Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Spicy Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Spicy Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Spicy Sour Cream Dipping Sauce
Recipe Type: appetizer
Author: Adapted from: The Kitchn
Ingredients
  • 1 pound small or medium red potatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped, fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces-to-1 pound thick-cut bacon
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry the potatoes. Chop them into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, cook until potatoes are tender when poked with a fork. You don't want them to be fully cooked.
  4. Drain the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Add the rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Toss until the potatoes are evenly coated.
  6. Prepare the grill for cooking over direct medium heat.
  7. Wrap the potatoes in bacon and secure with a toothpick.
  8. Place bacon wrapped potatoes on the grill until the bacon is cooked through and crisp. Turn occasionally.
  9. Mix sour cream with hot-sauce in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper

Adapted from: The Kitchn

Pulled Pork Sandwich With Root Beer Sauce

Last week we used Maple Syrup to give our ribs a sweet taste and this week we continue with another sweet ingredient to accompany our Pulled Pork.

The Root Beer Sauce livens up  our tender pork sirloin roast and the added chili sauce give it a kick of heat to balance out the sweetness. This is definitely an easy meal that you can start early on game day or even the night before. It's also great for leftovers throughout the week.

Recipe Pulled Pork Sandwich With Root Beer Sauce

Pulled Pork Root Beer Sauce

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Pulled Pork Root Beer Sauce
Ingredients
  • 3-pound pork sirloin roast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, cut
  • 1 cup root beer
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups root beer (two 12-ounce cans or bottles)*
  • 1 cup bottled chili sauce
  • 8 hamburger buns
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Tomato slices
Instructions
  1. Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut roast to fit into a 3-1/2- to 5-quart crockery cooker. Sprinkle meat with the salt and pepper. In a large skillet brown meat on all sides in hot oil. Drain off fat. Transfer meat to cooker. Add onions, the 1 cup root beer, and garlic.
  2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
  3. For the sauce, combine the 3 cups of root beer and the chili sauce. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2 cups.
  4. Transfer to a cutting board or serving platter. Drain liquids and save onions. Using 2 forks, pull meat apart into shreds.
  5. Serve on buns with lettuce leaves and tomato slices, if desired. Add onions and spoon on sauce.

Maple Baby-Back Ribs

If you want moist, tender, quick and easy ribs with a few ingredients, nothing gets as simple as the Maple Baby-Back Ribs we made this episode. They can be made on the grill or in the oven - we prefer the grill!

There is no need to be scared of grilling ribs. All it takes is time and we show you how easy it is with this simple recipe that packs a favorable punch.

Two Dips made with Beer!

Sometimes making a whole meal for your tailgate isn't an option. A late start to the day because you over slept isn't an excuse to not have something homemade while watching your favorite team score touchdowns. Quick and easy dips are a fast  and tasty way to prepare something that dosen't take a lot of time but packs a lot of flavor.

The Rama Dama Amber Dunk Dip and Philly Cheese Beer Dip both have two essential tailgating staples - beer and cheese. We also used the WMD Hot Sauce we used for our Fajitas last week. Make sure you check out the other options that WMD Hot Sauce offers

Fajitas with Cleo Carrot Hot Sauce

We were given some hot sauces from WMD Hot Sauce and thought a marinated flank steak would highlight the flavor so we decided Fajitas would do the trick. We used the Cleo Carrot which has a lightly sweet, crisp carrot flavor which is made with the Bhut Jolokia pepper.

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We used 2 of the 5 levels of hotness - 1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree, Chemical Burn and Nuclear Burn. While the levels change the great carrot taste stays the same. If you are looking for a great tasting hot sauce that still has heat check out WMD Hot Sauce.

Recipe: Fajitas with Cleo Carrot Hot Sauce

Spicy BBQ Fajitas

Fajitas

Spicy BBQ Fajitas
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ lbs. lean flank steak
  • cup barbecue sauce
  • cup Hot Sauce
  • 2 large bell peppers, cut into wide strips
  • 1 large onion, cut into thick slices
  • 6 large flour tortillas, heated
Instructions
  1. Place flank steak, hot sauce and barbecue sauce in a resealable plastic bag.
  2. Marinate in refrigerator 30 min. up to 3 hours.
  3. GRILL steak and vegetables 10 to 15 min. until meat is medium rare and vegetables are charred, but tender.
  4. Slice steak and server with warm tortillas and vegetables.
  5. Add more BBQ sauce or hot sauce if desired.

Season Two Starts with Asian Orange Chicken Wings!

While football season starts tomorrow, the second season of Pigskin Gourmet starts NOW! One of our most talked about episodes from last season was the Wings and Dip episode with the Strawberry-Jalapeno Chicken Wings. Since it's early in the season (before the season actually), we wanted to give you something easy and just as tasty.

Grilled wings are some of my favorite tailgating food and the perfect way to start the season. The Asian Orange Chicken Wings we made are sweet and spicy with a kick of heat from the sriracha. Yes, we used sriracha! Had to use it for something.

If you want a little more for your tailgate you can make these and the Strawberry-Jalapeno Chicken Wings and be in awesome wing heaven. Anyway, check out our triumphant return!

Recipes: Preseason Rub Asian Orange Chicken Wings