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August 6, 2018

Recipe: Slightly Spicy Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges

Nothing can beat the flavor of a sweet potato! Well, actually… that’s not true, now that I think about it. To me, a spicy grilled sweet potato wedge tastes better than a baked sweet potato on many occasions. Plus, grilling a sweet potato is almost foolproof.

And, sweet potatoes are often a recommended part of many healthy eating diet plans whereas regular potatoes may not be. Here’s why, sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber and they are packed with vitamins and minerals including iron and calcium. Plus, they are a good source for both B and C vitamins and the antioxidant beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A once you eat the sweet potato!

Now for a bit of sweet potato trivia! Did you know that the sweet potato and white potatoes are not related? According to the USDA, the sweet potato belongs to “morning glory” family, while white potatoes are in the “nightshade” family.
But, back to this easy recipe! This version is a Tex-Mex inspired dish that can be easily modified. You can go a sweeter version with butter and dashes of brown sugar – perfect for fall grilling when you’re thinking about fall sweet potato pies. You can also use Italian seasoning and olive oil as a side dish for pizza or lasagna.

I suggest using firm sweet potatoes that are large enough to slice into four good size wedges. While this is a grilling recipe it can easily be done in the oven as well. Enjoy!

Slightly Spicy Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges
This recipe has a two-part cooking process. The potatoes are boiled for a short time, cooled, and then sliced into wedges. Then, they are coated and finished up on the grill.

  • 4 sweet potatoes leave the skin on
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oilCover the sweet potatoes with cold salted water in a large pot, then bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Allow to cool completely and slice into four wedges. Prep your grill for medium heat grilling. Next, mix together the remaining ingredients including olive oil and gently brush the mix on the wedges. Grill potatoes until grill marks appear and potatoes are cooked through about 15 minutes. Use non-stick spray on the grates or grilling basket to limit sticking

    *Vegetarian Friendly Recipe

October 31, 2017

Guest Post: Spooky Halloween Grilling Ideas!

Halloween is known for handing out candy and dressing up in spooky costumes! Now it can also be known as a great time to have some fun with your grilling menu! Why not add a Halloween touch to some of the items you normally serve up from your KoKoMo Grill?

I suggest that you still stick with foods your normally grill and love – just have some fun with them. After all, you’re still spending money on food and you’re still going to serve your creations at a gather or family meal!

Here are a few ideas you can use to get your creative, and slightly gross, thought process going. One for family fun burger night! One that’s kid-in-the-kitchen friendly and one that probably better suited for grownups!

Alien Head Sliders
Are you familiar with the common image associated with aliens? You know – the gray shaped triangle head with huge eyes? Start as if you were making burgers, in this case sliders, and for your ground beef into golf ball sized portions. Next, flatten and pinch into guitar pick shapes! Season and grill, add small pieces of cheese for the eyes and serve hot on a slider bun. Plate with the top of the bun toasted and covered in melted cheese. The bottom bun should have relish showing under the Alien Slider Burger patty!

Kid Friendly Mummy Mini Pizzas
This is perfect for a family quick and easy meal where everyone gets their own pizza. And, it’s perfect for kids – they can make their own pies! Select a few favorite toppings that are precooked such as pepperoni slices or cubed ham. You’ll also need pizza sauce and personal sized pre-made crusts. Take the crust and add sauce followed by the pepperoni and other toppings. Cut the cheese slices into smaller strips and layer them at angles as if it were mummy wrapping. Leave a slit open showing the sauce and add two olives for eyes. Grill until cheese is melted and golden around the edges.

Blue Button Down Dry Rub Ribs!
The easiest, and the grossest! Why not gross out your friends with a horror movie edible batch of ribs! You’ll need two racks of ribs and a throw away blue button-down shirt. Grill the ribs using a dry rub method on your KoKoMo grill as you normally would. While the ribs are grilling, cut the front of the shirt along the side seems while keeping the collar. Cut the collar in half right where the neck tag is. You don’t need the sleeves or the back. What you’ll have is a left and right piece – each with half of the collar. When you’re ready to serve, place the finished ribs on a deep-dish cookie sheet – trim side bones to fit. Place the pieces of the shirt on-top, tuck the edges in on the sides and bottom. Button a few of the buttons towards the bottom and under the collar. Tuck the collar back edges in to finish things off.

Kent’s Basic Dry Rub
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion flakes
(1/2 tablespoon if using onion powder)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper if desired

Mix all of the ingredients in a clean and dry mason jar doubling the amounts as needed. You can also use an empty spice shaker. Rubs can be considered a dry marinade. Leave on for at least thirty minutes before cooking. For many dishes I rub the meat the day before which allows the spices to be soaked into the meat.

 

Rub Tips:
When trying a rub for the first time I would suggest adding the least amount of salt as possible. One mistake many people make is to use things like garlic salt with onion salt and then adding additional table or sea salt. That’s a lot of salt! Use onion powder and garlic powder instead.

 

Kent “The Deck Chef” Whitaker is the former winner of the Emeril Live / Food Network barbecue contest. He’s a culinary writer and cookbook author – his newest title is Great American Grilling. He also writes about College football, the NFL and NASCAR for several media outlets. Look for him online at thedeckchef.com.

July 6, 2017

Choosing NG (Natural Gas) vs LP (Propane)

Choosing how to power your grill or cooktop is a difficult decision. Both natural gas and propane come with their advantages and disadvantages, so which are you going to choose? There is no clear winner here, sadly, and you will have to look at them from a personal, individual viewpoint. You will want to make sure that they fit your specific needs and expectations currently and well into the future. After all, changing them can be difficult, especially if you have a line for natural gas installed. Choose the one that is a right fit for you from the start and keep yourself happy for a long time to come.

Natural Gas
Natural gas is a natural resource – meaning we can run out of it. Right now, however, there is already a lot readily available to most people. This includes metro areas, where natural gas is most often found. In major cities, there are lines for natural gas connecting most homes and businesses. For this reason, it is the obvious and sensible choice for businesses and individuals in major cities.

Alongside availability, it is also the cheapest option. Natural gas, being so widely available and easily accessible, costs the least. While it will require a full installation, it pays for itself over time if this is something you use continuously. For restaurants in areas with available natural gas, it is the financially smart choice.

Propane
The majority of people know about propane, being one of the most popular options for grilling and cooking. Portable, easy to get, and highly effective, it is incredible. It gives you a great flame every time, making for great meals. Since you can get it anywhere and bring it anywhere, it is perfect for nearly any person. In areas without natural gas, it is one of the few alternatives available.

It does cost a little more and will require filling up, or replacement, on a regular basis. However, since you can choose when to replace or refill, that is within your control. You can go to a store to refill propane tanks or have a service come to you – that is up to you to decide.

Both come with their own advantages and disadvantages, again. They are good for different types of people, depending on what they need and want. Choosing between the two requires knowledge of what would work for you and you alone. Only then can you know which is the best option.

June 28, 2017

When to Grill vs. When to Smoke

With summer finally here grilling season has begun and many people are considering what types of dishes they will prepare for cookouts and other social events. Soon dads across America will be setting up their grills and smokers, cleaning off the dust and soaking the grates to cook. Every neighborhood will be alive with the hustle and bustle of laughing friends and family members, standing in droves on the lawn with glasses of wine and bottles of beer in their hands as they await a familiar taste sensation.

Whether you are known throughout the land as a hamburger master or have a penchant for concocting the perfect steaks, there is no end to the amount of fun and interesting dishes you can create for this summer. One important thing to keep in mind, though, is the difference between grilling and smoking. Both provide ample opportunity for delightful dishes, but they have key and fundamental differences that have to be considered. So, when should you grill? When should you smoke?

When to Grill Your Food
Grilling requires a high heat, upwards of 400 degrees, for a few minutes of cooking. When you grill, your goal is to sear the outside of the meat, locking in the juices through caramelization. This process is delightful and fun, with people everyone reaping the benefits of a well-done grilled meal. The best things to cook on a grill are more tender meats, like chicken, ribs, and steaks, but grilling vegetables and other such items is also an incredibly popular option. Everything from pizza to fruit kabobs can be grilled, if you’re feeling adventurous.

When to Smoke Your Food
Smoking is a different beast altogether, though most grills come with smokers. This method of cooking requires a low heat, somewhere in the 100 to 200 degree range, and it requires a great deal of time. Much planning has to go into smoking, and the ordeal itself necessitates a lot of patience. Meat cooked in a smoker is sometimes an impractical goal for the novice cook, because the process of smoking can take anywhere from a few hours to a string of days. You should smoke meats like ham, ribs, pork, and brisket, and you have to pick out the perfect wood chips to give the meat the right smoky flavor. The end result is often a delicious masterpiece, but smoking meats is not for everyone.

June 23, 2017

Lets Grill The Perfect Steak!

Summertime is finally here and nothing screams Summer like Summer BBQ’s with Steak! Steak is a staple dish that many wish to conquer, and grilling the perfect steak is a challenge. As a delicious and wonderful meal with so much flavor potential, steak is arguably the most incredible dish to serve for any occasion. If you can master the art of grilling the perfect steak, you can automatically impress anyone and everyone. Whether you want to grill for your girlfriend or your family, you can figure out how to put a unique and impressive spin on this traditional meal that causes mouths to water every time you fire up the grill. Ribeye, filet mignon, and sirloin are the most common steaks people cook, and you can learn just how to grill the perfect steak with these steps.

Step 1: Get Cooking

You cannot possibly cook anything without first firing up your grill. Steaks need to be cooked at an incredibly high temperature, the more searing the better. Light up your grill and let it get nice and hot before you start doing anything else. Make sure you arrange the coals to a two-zone fire, which is optimal for cooking steak. You should add the grate after you have arranged the coals, and give this metallic counterpart time to get hot before you begin. Coat the grill grate in oil with a brush or a carefully maneuvered paper towel with tongs, to ensure proper steak cooking.

Step 2: Prepare the Meat

Regardless of what type of steak you are making, you need to let it reach room temperature and trim the excess fat in order to help it become the perfect meal. When you are wondering how to grill the perfect steak, you might think that the fat will add more flavor. In truth, the fat will cause excessive flare ups and potentially ruin the meal. You should season the meat appropriately, according to taste. Salt and pepper are optimal ingredients, but lemon zest and cayenne have their appeal as well.

Step 3: Pop It on the Grill

This is the fun part of the cooking process. When grilling, place the steak at the hottest region on the grill. Usually, you want to put it right above the coals. Leave the steak alone for no more than four minutes, and then flip it. You do not want to move it around at all, and you should watch out for any flare ups that might occur from dripping fat. Once you have seared it on both sides, move it to a less-potent area and wait until it has reach the right level for your preference.

April 26, 2017

Fun Things to Cook on the Grill

Grilling is a fun activity that is often bogged down by the overuse of certain dishes. Everyone loves a good burger now and again, and steak is a truly remarkable national treasure, but after a certain point, people want variety. Thankfully, there are many ways to spice up your grill-oriented meals with ease. Essentially, if you can eat it, you can grill it—and with the summer fast approaching, you should start learning how. Here are some of the more interesting things you can add to your summer cookout menu.

Polenta
Most people know polenta as a form of grits, but that does not mean you are incapable of grilling it. Polenta comes both dried and tubed, and if you want to add pizzazz to your meals, you can slice up the tubed polenta and toss it on the grill. Then you will have delicious polenta bites, which can be added to virtually anything for a unique and delightful alternative to traditional meals.

Donuts
If you really want to make things exciting this summer, find some simple and easy donut recipes that you can try out. Instead of baking them in the normal fashion, try tossing this savory dessert on the grill. You’ll end up with a delicious and unique treat that inspires the whole neighborhood.

Fruit
Everyone has had a vegetable skewer before. It is time to do something different. Instead of layering up tomatoes and bell peppers and mushrooms on your favorite pair of skewers, mix things up. Peaches, strawberries, and pineapples are all wonderful fruits that taste amazing when grilled. Warm and tangy, they light up your mouth, providing the perfect snack on a listless summer afternoon.

Sweet Potatoes
As a healthy and delicious starch, sweet potatoes have gained popularity in recent years. They are appearing in recipes for everything from tacos to breakfast casserole, and there is no reason they should be left out of the grilling game. Slice up some sweet potato and grill the chunks for a perfect side to any meal.

Salad
Salads are a traditionally cold food, but they do not have to be. Instead of sticking with the boring, obvious salads that accompany the occasional BBQ, why not make things interesting? You can grill kale, romaine, and cabbage with tomatoes, portabellas, and onions to create a unique and delicious alternative to traditional and boring salads.

April 17, 2017

The Secret to the Perfectly Grilled Fish

Fish is a meal that never fails to impress when done correctly. Whether it’s sushi or grilled salmon, people always go nuts for a particularly delightful fish-oriented dish. Though every fish is different and each potential meal combination can influence overall reception, a finely grilled fish is the single most remarkable entrée anyone can hope to consume. There is a lot that goes into grilling fish, but there are a few tips and tricks that you can use to make sure your fish is well-remembered and enjoyed. It is easy to overcook, and if it sticks to your grill, there is no hope for it, but despite these challenges, there is so much to be gained from perfecting the art of grilled fish.

Keeping Your Fish from Sticking to the Grill

There are many different solutions that have been proposed for avoiding this disastrous occurrence, but which one will work best for you is something only you can determine. Everything from a bed of sliced lemons to excessive use of oil has been proposed, but the most efficient method thus far has been the use of mayonnaise. Because the fats present in the product tend to stick best to the fish, you can avoid the sticking aspect of grilling fish easily. The mayo is not noticeable in regards to flavor impact, but if you want something with more kick, you can try more interesting options. Chipotle mayo, for example, would be great for those who want their anti-sticking method to impart more seasoning.

Refraining from Overcooking Your Fish

The best way to keep from ruining a perfectly good fish on your equally good grill is by finding the right heat level to cook at. When you have a fish fillet, you should grill it at roughly 450 degrees for no more than 10 minutes. It should be cooked rapidly and with an abundance of heat, because otherwise it will dry out. Do not cook the fish all the way on the grill; instead, take it off just before it is finished to let it cook on the plate. The fish should be grilled skin-side down because the skin is much firmer than the opposing flesh, and using some tinfoil or a baking sheet can make a huge difference in quality of fish. This will keep you from drying out the fish or overcooking it.

April 17, 2017

Cuts of Steak: Choosing the Right One for the Right Occasion

With such a wide variety of steaks available, it can be difficult to determine what the right cut is for your special occasion. Maybe you are planning a romantic dinner for two, or perhaps you want to celebrate a promotion with your family. You could be hosting a cookout for all of your friends and extended family members. Regardless of your motivation to cook steak, you need to determine what type of steak pairs best with certain categories of socialization. Everything from location to mood dictates the appropriate type, and you have to focus on creating the best steak for the occasion.

When Should You Cook A Ribeye?

Ribeye steaks are known throughout the world as a juicy, succulent cut. With layers of fat throughout the meat, you get to enjoy a mouthwatering dish that is sure to impress even the most difficult of guests. When you host a summer barbeque, cook for a family reunion, or invite your friends over to binge watch your favorite television show, ribeye steaks are the perfect universal delight that everyone can enjoy. They are great for virtually any occasion.

When Should You Cook A T-Bone Or Porterhouse?

The T-Bone steak is what everyone visualizes when they think of this remarkable dish. T-Bones are staples, the archetype of steaks, and they should be treated with a certain reverence. They provide the best of both worlds, combining the filet with the strip to create a delicious sensation. This sort of steak is perfect for celebrating a unique lifetime achievement, like a promotion. When you want to share good tidings with your closest friends or exclaim your accomplishments surrounded by your nuclear family, the T-Bone and Porterhouse cuts are the best selection.

When Should You Cook A Filet Mignon?

The Filet Mignon is the most tender part of the cow, making it the most enviable cut of steak. With its ample amount of thick meat laced delicately with hints of fat, the filet mignon is delicious and boneless and perfect. It practically melts in your mouth, and it does not require a lot of effort to cook perfectly. When you want to impress someone, you should cook a filet mignon. Its tenderness and flavorful qualities make it the ideal cut for a romantic evening with a special someone, especially when paired with light sides.

March 3, 2017

How to Properly Clean Your Grill & Maintain It

When you own a grill, there are many things that come into play. People will want to do impromptu cookouts, or your family might request a certain meal that requires its use. Regardless, there will be times when you have to use the grill even when you are not prepared. That is why grill maintenance is so important for the longevity and use of your favorite piece of cookware. If you want to get the maximum amount of use out of your grill, then you have to take responsibility for its hygiene and functioning. There are a few good steps for a routine cleaning that can keep your grill functioning properly and ready to go in case of grill-oriented emergencies.

Step 1: Clean Immediately After Cooking

If you clean right away, you keep your grill healthy for much longer. Though this can often feel inconvenient, it is actually a great habit to get into. Because it can dramatically improve the quality of your grill throughout its lifespan, cleaning right after cooking is the best timeframe for grill maintenance. When the grill has been turned off, you can remove the coals, disconnect the propane, or the like. While it is still warm, you can wear gloves to remove the grates and metal plates. Soak these pieces in warm, soapy water using regular dish soap.

Step 2: Put Some Elbow Grease Into It

You need to keep the entire grill functioning at top standard, so make sure you protect the different parts of the grill that cannot be washed. Wrapping them in tinfoil is certainly a beneficial way to go, and you can get hard-to-reach areas without worrying for the safety of your heating elements. Take a grill brush and scrub roughly with soap and water. Clean under the hood, inside the grill, and even around the exterior. You can use a sponge for the inside walls of the grill if you would prefer, but the grill brush will be more efficient for removing the tough, caked-on mess.

Step 3: Rinse & Replace Parts

Once your grill parts have soaked for at least 10 minutes, you can take them out and scrub them off. The grill debris should be easily removed with a little bit of effort, and you can dry them off with a paper towel. Then, you should remove the tinfoil you placed inside the grill to protect the important parts. It will probably have some gross clumps on it from where you scrubbed the interior with the grill brush, so make sure that you keep all of those bits on it to throw away. Once you have done that, you can put your plats, grates, and the rest with relative ease in your newly cleaned grill.

March 3, 2017

Prep Strategies – Preparing to Cook

When you want to impress everyone with your master chef grilling skills, you need to do more than whip out a stellar recipe. There is so much that goes into a quality, delicious meal. Everything from the type of ingredients you buy to the amount of time you decide to leave them on the grill makes a huge difference. In fact, the actual pre-cooking preparations are more impactful on a meal than the grilling itself. You can create a real game changer with the right prep strategies, and here are some of the best ways to make sure your dish turns out perfectly.

#1: Preheat, Preheat, Preheat

When it comes to grilling, you need to preheat your grill at least fifteen minutes in advance. This action will give you the time you need to prep your food, and it will ensure that your meal is cooked perfectly. Whether you are cooking steak or veggie burgers, you need your grill to sear on contact.

#2: Lubrication Is Key

Your meal will stick to the grate, char to a crisp, and become disgustingly inedible if you don’t properly lubricate your grill. You need to oil up the entire grate with vegetable-based oils. Soak a paper towel and run it all along the grates with a pair of tongs. This way you can prevent your food from being ruined. You can use other forms of lubricant on your grill, depending on the meal you cook. Mayonnaise provides a great alternative to oil for the majority of fish-based meals, while sliced lemon can create a perfect barrier between the grates and any number of side dishes. Check to see what the recipe calls for, and then select the lubricant that best matches the desired taste of the dish.

#3: Marinate That Meat

There are a vast plethora of different marinades that you can choose from, but marinating any meat is an essential preparation strategy. This simple yet effective method is important for many aspects of grilling. For improved flavor and superior cooking, using a marinade is a great idea. If you are cooking poultry, steak, fish, or burgers, marinating can actually keep your food safe, too. Many meats that are cooked without marinade have a higher risk of developing carcinogens like heterocyclic amines, and the formation of this type of carcinogen is greatly reduced when meat has been marinated.

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