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  1. griddler

    a "small plate" for 450 people

    Hi all, We have a camper at a campground/resort that has very large crowds on major summer holidays, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day etc.. On these weekends there is a "poker run" where people visit different sites at the park and have a drink and an appetizer. We get tagged every other year or so to be one of the "sites" and we are running out of ideas. We have had good success with grilled cheese and tomato soup, smoked meat loaf, etc. We have seen other camp members blow over a grand on ribs, Italian beef, chicken wings etc.. Camp members participating get only a token financial reimbursement, but lots of good karma, so being able to impress on a budget would be great. It is essentially an idea that started out very modest (40-50 people) that has grown way out of proportion, but my role is to participate, not direct, and I am good with that. We have access to griddles, Turkey Fryers, etc. so cooking equipment is not the problem. What are some good ideas for relatively inexpensive, yet impressive options for this type of event. Mexican, pasta, junk food, is not an option (well it is, but not a good one) because it shows up at 2-3 sites every time, and being unique and different is as important as being very good. Our latest thought was to slice pork loin thin, add a light breading and throw it on a 2'x 3' foot propane griddle, and make a miniature schnitzel with a dollop of apple sauce and a side of of red cabbage (cooked ahead of time). Inexpensive, unique, but recognizable and flavorful. This event happens 5-6 times over the summer so most of the easy solutions are already taken. Do you folks have any other ideas to impress on a budget when most of the go-to options have been done to death? Thanks in advance.
  2. griddler

    Advice on a beef hindquarter

    Many thanks for all your help. After a little more time looking at different possibilities, I sent the following order to the butcher and below is his response: Short loin T bone Porterhouse Top sirloin: Culotte Mouse/heart of the top sirloin (the beginning of the tenderloin, very tender) Top sirloin cut into pavés (remove silverskin) Bottom Sirloin Tri-tip Flap meat or sirloin tip steaks From the aitch bone: Spider Top Round: Pear (pectineus; very tender) Beef Round Petite Tender steaks Top round cap (gracilis, similar to skirt steak) Adductor (on the side of the top round, more tender than the top round) cut ½" across the grain to generate the Beef Round San Antonio Steak Top Round roast and cube steaks Outside/Bottom Round: Cube/Minute steaks Eye of round roast Silverside (grind) Knuckle Carrot/rat (cylindrical muscle under the knuckle used in pot au feu or pho. Simmer as you would a shank) Knuckle (2 muscles can be easily separated and are very clean -the larger muscle can be opened and the silverskin removed, then tied back together) Whiting (sartorius) Shank Center cut soup bone slices Soup bones, tail, and Tung if possible Hamburger from trimmings Fat if any left after making hamburger Here is the butchers response: Xxxxx, You are definitely able to customize your order. Some of the items you are requesting I have not heard of before, but I would be up for the challenge. I looks like we would be able to accommodate most of your requests, but will do a little more research just to be sure. Our current price for the hind quarter is $2.95/lb hanging weight. Let me know if you have further questions. Xxxxxx,
  3. griddler

    Advice on a beef hindquarter

    I am thinking of getting a hindquarter of beef for the summer grilling season. Our local University has a meat cutting program and a small butchery. They say they will cut it any way I want. I got a quarter (part front part hind) from a local butcher last year and was very disappointed because it was basic steaks, some roasts, and lots of hamburger, no fun or interesting cuts like shank or flank or skirt or tri-tip etc., and no bones for stock. This year I want mostly cuts that I can grill or smoke and cut the shank for soups and stews, but I am not sure what to tell them to do or if there any unusual cuts that might be interesting to work with that are not typically available in your local grocery. Any advice would be appreciated.
  4. I had a whole chicken, wanted something high in flavor, and it is still too cold to grill out in Michigan, so I cut the chicken into 8 peices, marinated in teriyaki sauce, and cooked it on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil at 425. I planned to start basting with a thick teriyaki glaze as soon as the skin started to crisp up. I realized about 30 minutes in that I would never get a crispy skin with all the liquid in the sheet pan, so I drained the liquid into another pot and continued cooking the chicken in the oven. Chicken turned out great with a thick gooey glaze. I now have a pot with 2-3 cups of this wonderful tasting juice about 50/50 fat/juice that I can't bring myself to throw away. Are there any quides on how to use flavorul leftover juices (not the meat or vegetables but the cooking lquids). One example I ran into this weekend with St. Patricks Day was boiling corned beef for 2.5 hrs. and then using the liquid to boil up some red potatoes to go with the meal.
  5. griddler

    Carrots galore, what to do?

    It is a couple weeks before deer season in SE Michigan, and although deer baiting is illegal in Michigan, the local gas stations are selling 50# bags of carrots for 5 dollars. I picked up a bag, and while they are definitely seconds in appearance (too big too small etc.) the quality in terms of freshness and taste is great. Preserving mass quantities of carrots with little or no taste is not my goal. I am looking for recipes that are interesting or could be used for entertaining. Since the cost of the carrots is relatively inconsequential, I am looking for preserving recipes with interesting flavors. I canned over 60 quarts of Bloody Mary mix this fall, and compared to to the tomato juice we used to can, we are going through it faster than we thought possible. I would like to find fun and interesting things to do with all these carrots. I have found some basic pickled carrot recipes, but they seem to be similar to pickled beets, just change the vegetable. Since I have a couple rows of beets in the garden waiting to be harvested, I would rather do something different. Any help with new or interesting pickling/preserving recipes using carrots would be greatly appreciated.
  6. griddler

    Caribbean flavors for a taco bar?

    The theme for our next local outdoor gathering is Caribbean. I plan to grill some jerk chicken over an open fire (duh). Furthermore, there are a ton of Caribbean drink recipes (another duh). Since there are a variety of people, and flavor palates in the crowd, I thought it would be nice to put out a taco bar and let people choose from more or less spicy ingredients and build their own tacos (mixing foodies and neophytes can be a challenge). I have a large outdoor griddle and can sauté any combination of meat/vegetable/spice combination. A quick search on Google found a ton of restaurants and tacorias that are reported to have awesome Caribbean style tacos, but almost no recipes. In addition, a number of people in my crowd are known for not appreciating seafood, and living in the Midwest we can’t get great seafood anyway, so I don’t plan on serving fish tacos. Also, while I have enjoyed the goat curry the last couple times I was in Jamaica, Goat is not readily available in our local mega marts. So, to finally get to my question, does anyone have any good recipes for Caribbean style tacos (flour or corn) using chicken/ beef/pork. I also have a couple of side notes. 1. A couple of web sites suggested that homemade tortillas are superior to store bought. Since the outdoor griddle will be up and running is it worthwhile to make my own, or should I buy store bought? I have a tortilla press that I bought on a whim some years ago, but have never really used. 2. I already got a jar of Mango salsa from Sam’s thinking that has to fit with the theme but could use suggestions on how to use it. Thank
  7. griddler

    Sauce for Pork?

    At the risk of high jacking this thread (same theme different cooking technique). I find a multitude of grill seasonings for chicken and beef, but nothing for pork. We shop Costco, Sams, other stores, etc.. and I can buy dozens of seasoned salts for chicken and beef and I have yet to find one for pork, and I find that I grill pork more than any other meat. Typically I marinate the pork in asian flavors which works well, but sometimes I just want to throw some seasoning on a pork chop and throw it on the grill. Any good seasoned salts for pork?
  8. griddler

    Making Bacon

    OK, so I plan on making bacon with pork belly (US style), Pork loin (Canadian style), heck, I may even try buckboard bacon (pork shoulder). My problem is that the recipes from different sources have very different instructions, especially when it comes to smoking. My reference list includes: Charcuterie By Ruhlman and Polcyn (150 degrees F, hot smoke) Great sausage recipes and meat curing by Rytek Kutas (128 degrees F) And the Charcuterie blog on this web site (< 90 degrees F, cold smoke) Question 1. what temperature? I have a hot smoker and can build a cold smoker by adding tubing from the smoke stack to a separate box. Question 2. how long to cure? It ranges from 48 hours (charcuterie text) to 7days (other blogs). Question 3. When to remove the skin from the pork belly? (charcuterie text says right after the hot smoke when the fat is soft). Other blogs say trim it before the cure and cold smoke it. On the upside I am thinking that homemade bacon must be a very forgiving procedure to have so many different approaches. On the other hand, I don’t want to waste time trying all the methods to see what is best. Has anyone out there experimented with the different approaches?
  9. Thats it !!! I have used it a couple times since it arrived (free delivery from amazon and the griddle surface alone weighs around 80 pounds). I know it will take some pratice but I am looking forward to the challenge.
  10. I recently purchased a propane powered griddle (Brand is Blackstone, size is 3 feet long by 20 inches deep). We have a summer retreat where most weekends are spent with family and friends with group meals ranging from 4-20 people depending on the weekend. I want to use this toy to the best advantage I can. Breakfast is obvious and I am already planning on making my own bacon and sausage although I still need killer hash browns and potato pancake recipes. For dinner I am planning to visit Benihana and see if I can hone my teppanyaki skills. Another application I have thought of is burritos where you cook up the onions, peppers, meat etc. and move it to a cooler part of the griddle and then make burritos as needed when people show up. For lunches I can plan grilled cheese or Panini’s. I have a large wood fired grill/smoker that works well for burgers and brats up to pork buts and briskets so I don’t necessarily want to do everything on this griddle; I just want to use it when it is the best option. Is there a short order cook text book or resource guide that covers most everything you can do with a griddle?