National Hot Dog Day - July 18th

On the 4th of July, I watched the annual Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest.  At the end, I didn't think I ever wanted to eat another hot dog again.  I watched as the ten time champion, Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, devoured 74 hot dogs (and their buns) in 10 minutes, which beat his personal record.  In comparison, the other day, my nine-year-old son ate three hot dogs at a kid's birthday party and promptly came over to me to boast about it.  Like any real dad, I challenged him to go eat a 4th.  My wife didn't appreciate the extra "push" that I applied, but I just witnessed a grown man eat 74 hot dogs, so I thought the kid could handle four.  I was wrong and he only made it halfway through to achieve 3.5 for the day.  FYI - nothing gross happened, he was just very done with eating hot dogs for the afternoon.

Nevertheless, I'm pleased to say that the unsettling visual of Mr. Chestnut shoving two dogs in at a time has passed and I am back to eating them again with no problem.  However, the new way that I like my dog is with the spiral cut.  I realize that it's been around, so I am a little late to the party.  But - I don't care because - what a difference it makes.  I just want everybody in on this grilling delight.  The proper terminology is caramelization and with this cut, there's more surface area for it to happen as well as more flavor.  Nowadays, I turn every hot dog into a Slinky dog for grilling.

 

Steps to get it done right:

1) Get a cutting board preferably from Wood & Brew.  Be sure to place the dog at the very bottom.

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2) Next, you'll need a good knife.  Begin at the left end of the dog, but I'm right handed.  So, if you're left handed, I guess you need to begin at the right end.  You then diagonally cut while rolling the hot dog up the board.  Some people suggest putting a skewer down the center of the dog and then cutting it down to the skewer.  I'm sorry to bring up my stomach again; but, if you try the skewering trick yourself, you'll see for yourself the uneasiness that it can deliver. Anyway, I just say, "Be careful" and obviously don't cut the whole way through the dog.

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3) Then, grill them Slinky dogs!  Takes about 7 to 9 minutes over medium high.  Every couple of minutes roll them back and forth on the grill. 

Let the caramel magic begin!

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4) I didn't create a fancy topping, but instead, I used a Ketchup from a sponsor of ours in the past, Sir Kensington.  For my dog, I added Sir Kensington's Ketchup Spicy (Jalepeno Heat).  Delish!

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We'll definitely revisit this later in the year for an actual Pigskin show.  However, we'll be sure to create various dipping sauces and toppings for your Slinky Dog.  AND - I promise to practice more and attempt to get more spirals which means more caramelization!  Mmmmmmmmmmmm!

HAPPY NATIONAL HOT DOG DAY!!

Dirty Gertie - the cleaning

Dirty Gertie - the cleaning

Alright . . . the time had finally come - the grill cleaning needed to get done.  As I've said before, it should never really have gotten this dirty in the first place - if only I would have used it year round.  That's my summer's resolution for this upcoming winter!

Nevertheless, on with the cleaning!  I've been reading a lot of comic books lately - Preacher, Jessica Jones, Fatale, etc.  But, I won't be dark like that (or sexual).  In turn, I'm rolling with pictures and captions for this blog post - in an almost comic book style.  We'll see how it goes for the cleaning of Dirty Gertie!

 

 Must have a beverage on hand in order to attempt some "joy" out of this grill cleansing practice.   Mmmmm . . . Yum Yums from Dogfish Head Brewery.   

Must have a beverage on hand in order to attempt some "joy" out of this grill cleansing practice. 

Mmmmm . . . Yum Yums from Dogfish Head Brewery.

 

 Ugh - is that pollen all over the grill cover?  Nasty.  Sip of the beer is now required.   

Ugh - is that pollen all over the grill cover?  Nasty. 
Sip of the beer is now required.

 

 Whenever doing this type of project, be sure to wear the right attire - no flip-flops or sandals.  I have new shoes on and the debate is still out.   Side note:  When buying these shoes, I saw a woman try on some shoes and actually began running in the store.  I remember doing that at age 5!  I almost gave it a try at 45.   

Whenever doing this type of project, be sure to wear the right attire - no flip-flops or sandals.  I have new shoes on and the debate is still out.  Side note: When buying these shoes, I saw a woman try on some shoes and actually began running in the store.  I remember doing that at age 5!  I almost gave it a try at 45.

 

 Also, always have a buddy to cheer you along to the path of cleanliness.  In this case, I have Charlie.  In turn, I also have all the beverage to myself, but I did offer!   

Also, always have a buddy to cheer you along to the path of cleanliness.  In this case, I have Charlie.  In turn, I also have all the beverage to myself, but I did offer!

 

 And then . . . a distraction comes about, but - it's a cute one by the name of Violet (name on the wall proves it).  She just woke up from her nap inside.  Whew - she's smiling and that's a good thing after a naptime.   

And then . . . a distraction comes about, but - it's a cute one by the name of Violet (name on the wall proves it).  She just woke up from her nap inside.  Whew - she's smiling and that's a good thing after a naptime.

 

 Are you kidding me!  After a diaper change (remember I just introduced Violet, so that was for her, not me) and now, it's a Rain Delay!  I didn't see this coming.  Don't worry - the beer is inside with me!  AS WELL AS - Charlie and Violet.  I didn't forget.   ("Get in here guys and out of the rain")   

Are you kidding me!  After a diaper change (remember I just introduced Violet, so that was for her, not me) and now, it's a Rain Delay!  I didn't see this coming.  Don't worry - the beer is inside with me!  AS WELL AS - Charlie and Violet.  I didn't forget. 

("Get in here guys and out of the rain")

 

 Fortunately, it was a quick rain followed by sun.  Where's the rainbow?!?  Yeah - that didn't happen.  Back to the grill cleaning.   

Fortunately, it was a quick rain followed by sun.  Where's the rainbow?!?  Yeah - that didn't happen.  Back to the grill cleaning.

 

 New grill buddy said that she needed her rain boots out on the wet deck.  Yes, ma'am.   

New grill buddy said that she needed her rain boots out on the wet deck.  Yes, ma'am.

 

 I still have my new shoes on.  Also, as you can see, it's definitely Brent here and not Cecil.   He lays out in the sun more than I do.  Smile everyone!   

I still have my new shoes on.  Also, as you can see, it's definitely Brent here and not Cecil. 

He lays out in the sun more than I do.  Smile everyone!

 

 Meanwhile, new grill buddy is making me work NOW!   

Meanwhile, new grill buddy is making me work NOW!

 

 Grill cover off!  Let's do it.  Oh yeah . . . I gotta open it.   

Grill cover off!  Let's do it.  Oh yeah . . . I gotta open it.

 

 Well . . . I don't see any critters' nests.  :)   So, I've got that going for me right now.   

Well . . . I don't see any critters' nests.  :) 

So, I've got that going for me right now.

 

 Put in the gas tank which we already had from two years ago . . . still full!  I'm a such bad BBQ chef.   

Put in the gas tank which we already had from two years ago . . . still full!  I'm a such bad BBQ chef.

 

 This is the one of the easier parts of the cleaning - I cooked whatever was on there - OFF!  If this was a video, you would hear the cracklin'!  But, it's a picture, so you'll have to trust me.    "Crackle, crackle, crackle."     

This is the one of the easier parts of the cleaning - I cooked whatever was on there - OFF!  If this was a video, you would hear the cracklin'!  But, it's a picture, so you'll have to trust me.  "Crackle, crackle, crackle."

 

 This was the grill brush I used.  The bristles were soft, but very sturdy and SAFE.  I stress the "safe" statement since a couple years ago, I found one of those sharp wiry bristles while eating a burger.  In actuality, my gum found it as it got stuck in my mouth.  Pictures next!   

This was the grill brush I used.  The bristles were soft, but very sturdy and SAFE.  I stress the "safe" statement since a couple years ago, I found one of those sharp wiry bristles while eating a burger.  In actuality, my gum found it as it got stuck in my mouth.  Pictures next!

 

 Just kidding - if you want a gross pix like that, then Google it.  WARNING - you may vomit at what you see.  Anyway, here's a cute picture of my Violet.   Hmmm - See that broom in the back?   

Just kidding - if you want a gross pix like that, then Google it.  WARNING - you may vomit at what you see.  Anyway, here's a cute picture of my Violet. 

Hmmm - See that broom in the back?

 

 What happened?   Cute, little girl was working hard on cleaning up the deck of all its branches and leaves.  She pushed it a little too hard.   

What happened? 

Cute, little girl was working hard on cleaning up the deck of all its branches and leaves.  She pushed it a little too hard.

 

 Anyway - good time to get the little girl, Charlie (remember - the dog), and myself back inside.  I kept on with cleaning, as I soaked all that I could in a bin.   

Anyway - good time to get the little girl, Charlie (remember - the dog), and myself back inside.  I kept on with cleaning, as I soaked all that I could in a bin.

 

 This was followed by running it all through the dishwasher!  Another easy part of the cleaning.   Just heavy beverage lifting required.   

This was followed by running it all through the dishwasher!  Another easy part of the cleaning. 

Just heavy beverage lifting required.

 

 Finally, this all led to a clean grill . . . or as clean as its going to get after sitting for as long as it had.   

Finally, this all led to a clean grill . . . or as clean as its going to get after sitting for as long as it had.

 

 I then had to clean up, shower up, and . . . boom!  My wife came home and treated me to this.  I can't complain, but she was able to be the first on the clean grill - not me.  Who cares though, because that meal rocked!  You can check her out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SweetStruckCupcakes   

I then had to clean up, shower up, and . . . boom!  My wife came home and treated me to this.  I can't complain, but she was able to be the first on the clean grill - not me.  Who cares though, because that meal rocked!  You can check her out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SweetStruckCupcakes

 

 FYI, I'll be able to wear my recent gift to myself during the next grilling at the house!

FYI, I'll be able to wear my recent gift to myself during the next grilling at the house!

So there you have it, I finally did it!  Grill all clean and I've been using it ever since as well as my wife.  More importantly, some Pigskin recipes have been played around with and tested.  More to come . . . 

 

#preacher

#fatale

#jessicajones

#dogfishhead

#sweetstruckcupcakes

#pigskingourmet

#lifeisgood

Dirty Gertie - The Game Plan

Weather is finally getting better, but then that just means the Little League games are actually being played out. It's amazing how many rain dances one still does in a day despite the forecast only giving off a 10% chance of rain. I love my son playing ball, but to suddenly have the option of being home during bad weather - yeah!

Anyway, Dirty Gertie (the grill) needs a bath . . . bad. The annual grill cleaning is never a fun time. In actuality though, it should never get so bad that you can't use it, because you should keep using it all year round! But then, there are kids in your life and everything changes (sorry - that's a whole other blog).

ANYWAY, I saw this the other day - a robot grill cleaner. It's called the Grillbot.

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Since I don't see my Eagles green color, I'll take a Flyers Orange one - thank you. Probably too late to do a deal with this company and sample one out. Hint, hint: maybe next year? Nevertheless, I would love to have a Roomba for my grill. Make some dinner, walk away, and when I get back - grill is all clean! I'll believe it when I see it though - hmmmm, another hint was that?

Alright, game on! The cleaning will happen within the next week. Father's Day weekend is too close and that's just embarrassing.

"Hey - that's a nice covered up grill you have there. Is that a prop or do you actually use it."

If someone would actually say that to me, I'd simply have to take it. So far in the new place, the grill is another piece of furniture on the deck. No stories or tales to be told of parties, family gatherings, or past Pigskin Gourmet shows. Remember Ethel from the past episodes? Oh - the stories that she had.

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(Yup - that's melted siding.  See - stories.)

So - the announcement has been made public.  Therefore, the grill will get cleaned!  Update coming . . . 

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

 

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

Google Recipe View Microformatting by Easy Recipe

1.2.4

Adapted from: The Kitchn

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