A Cilantro Lover’s Pico de Gallo Recipe

Fresh pico de gallo

First of all, this is not my recipe. I got it from Danniella (@kitchen_slayd on Instagram), which I then have to thank Jeremy from @jbluebbq for referencing her recipe, because he posted about it.

Recipe
— 8 Roma tomatoes, diced up
— 2 medium white onions, minced up
— 3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
— 4 serrano peppers (use less for less heat, if you’d like)
— Juice from 4 limes
2 whole bunches of cilantro
— Salt to taste


Instructions
— Rinse cilantro and pat dry
— Dice those Roma tomatoes up and add to a bowl or some kind of dish to hold the pico de gallo
— Quarter the onions and add to a food chopper; pulse until finely minced.
— Chop up your cilantro! You can do it finely so, but I had big chunks in mine because I love it and don’t mind them being larger.
— Dice up the serrano peppers, removing the seeds.
— Crush and mince up the three cloves of garlic
— Once everything is added to the bowl or dish you are making the pico de gallo in, cut four limes in half and use a citrus squeezer to extract the juices into the dish.
— Mix well
— Add salt to taste; I used sea salt.

It’s an excellent, simple recipe with a ton of flavor. I call it the cilantro lover’s pico de gallo due to the two bunches of cilantro that was used. If you love cilantro, you’ll love it, but on the other hand, if you detest cilantro, you are going to have a bad time.

Serrano peppers freshly picked from my little garden!

This recipe gave me an excuse to use four of the serrano peppers that I grew in my little garden, where I’m using an old 22.5″ Weber Smokey Mountain lid as a pot.

Give this recipe a shot and let me know what you think!

Frauds in the Barbecue Community on Instagram

Last year, when I posting like a madman on Instagram, slanging and hanging meats in the Barrel House Cooker all spring and summer long in the middle of taking classes for the degree that I finished up back in December, I was approached by one of my closest friends in the barbecue community over on the ‘gram. Ron. Captain Ron! (@cptnron302) He asked me if I would like to join his private messaging group where each member of the said group would send their posts to the group chat and each member involved would click like and leave a comment. The reason behind this idea is that the likes and comments would boost the posts and allow them to be seen.

The Instagram algorithm is a little shaky, because people with a small following may have posts that won’t show up on someone’s feed due to a low number of likes and comments. Being involved in this group would yield a higher chance of one’s posts being seen, introducing more likes, comments and ensuing followers.

It worked. My posts started receiving traffic they never had before.

The problem? I have genuine love for Ron and a few others in the group for being authentic, down to earth people with a knack for outdoor cooking, but there are two members of that particular group who didn’t care to follow the unofficial ‘rules’ of the chat, because they wouldn’t like or comment on everyone in the group’s posts. I won’t name any names, but this was frustrating to me. I considered sending Ron a one-on-one message to discuss this discrepancy I felt, but I figured there’s no use. I was involved in the group not only to help myself but to help the others, especially Ron, because he’s a nice, generous guy who will not hesitate to like and comment on your posts, and he throws down some seriously good lookin’, delicious grub. There were others in this group that I held (hold) in the same regard as Ron for similar reasons. The two other members who are the antithesis of everything that little group stands for? They are the plague of the community, in my mind.

Why post in the barbecue community on Instagram? “I want to make a name for myself.” Some people just want to post photos of their gorgeous, mouthwatering food every couple of weeks, but by and large, most people who are posting want to create a social presence with their posts and make a name for themselves, attracting advertisers and companies who may hire them to become social influencers or brand ambassadors. I would be blatantly lying if I told you I did not have such intentions. I have culinary-related business goals. I want to turn Grizzly BBQ into a full-blown business, but I also want to genuinely network, reciprocate any love I receive and add value to people’s lives if I can help it.

Far too many people are out there who are feeders rather than givers. They’ll feed on the likes and comments they receive, but they pick and choose who they give their likes and comments to, and I resent that greatly. I can’t help but roll my eyes when I see the two aforementioned members from the above paragraph go and like/comment on one of the bigger accounts in the barbecue community. They’ll slobber all over the big names who have 10,000+ followers, yet they’ll scroll on past other accounts with a smaller amount of followers. I know this happens because the proof is in the pudding. You’ll see them out there posting comments on every big name account’s posts as they pass yours by. It is difficult to not feel a varying level resentment over that kind of crap.

I don’t have a big account; I have less than a thousand followers, but I do have a passion for what I do (outdoor cooking), I enjoy sharing my photos with the world and wield an extreme appreciation and high level of gratitude for every like and comment that I receive.

I just find it annoying when these selfish individuals come out of the woodwork for their own personal gain. It would be beautiful if we (we as in the barbecue community as a whole) gave back to one another, working together to selflessly promote one another and harnessed that in the community. I have so much love and respect for some of the big name members of the barbecue community who like and comment on my posts, because they don’t have to. They have no reason to. There’s no gain for them to like and comment on my posts other than to create and sustain a real, genuine connection and relationship by the means of networking, but they do it anyway. It only takes a few seconds to like and comment on someone’s posts. Why can’t these obviously selfish members that I speak negatively of do it?

I felt this post was necessary to write because it is an overwhelming pet peeve of mine.

The barbecue community is incredible, as a whole. There are so many awesome people with a veritable love for delicious food who want to share it and support others. I have a great deal of love for each of those people. For such reasons, I want to give a big shoutout to some great members of the Instagram BBQ community who selflessly dish out love via likes and genuine comments:

Kurt — @caribeque
Chuck — @c_train707
John — @bigjohns_bbq
Ron — @cptnron302
Jimmy — @borderbangerbbq
Jeff (we might be related since we have the same last name! Haha) — @backwoods_kitchen
Matt — @bluetravelz
Adam — @thisjewcanque
Justin — @utetastic
Robert — @moons_bbq
Pam — @pam_persinger_walker
@zzzzote
Wes — @sunnysidebeachesbbq
Ralph — @revin_it_up_bbq

There are so many more…

Extra Spicy’n’Cheesy Habanero’n’Jalapeno Chorizo Quesadilla (Recipe!)

4-cheese habanero, jalapeno’n’onion chorizo quesadilla on the 17″ Tabletop Blackstone Griddle.

This is not for the faint of heart. I’m a lite chilihead and was craving some extra flavorful with a powerful pepper punch. I’m a big fan of chorizo. I first had it many years ago at a local Mexican restaurant where they include it in their fajitas that I’m a big fan of.

Recipe/Instructions
— Two flour tortillas
— I used a food chopper to finely chop up three habanero peppers, one jalapeno pepper and one small yellow onion
Great Value Fiesta Blend cheese (shredded monterey jack, cheddar, queso quesadilla and asadero cheese) from Wal-Mart
— Two rolls of Ole Mexican Foods chorizo.

Posting this stock photo just to give you an idea of the ‘rolls’ of chorizo from Ole Mexican Foods.

— You can use a skillet pan for this, but I used my 17″ Tabletop Blackstone Griddle for this cook.
— After pre-heating the griddle to high heat, I added my chorizo to the flat top surface and began mashing it up with a spatula.
— Since chorizo doesn’t take too long to cook in this manner, a few minutes later after plenty of stirring the chorizo around, I added my mixture of the habaneros, the jalapeno and the onion to the mix to stir in.
— After the peppers and the onion cooked for a few minutes in the chorizo, I turned the heat down to low, moved the chorizo/pepper/onion mix to the side
— Add one flour tortilla to the griddle surface, top with cheese all around the tortilla
— Add the chorizo/pepper/onion mix on top of the cheese-topped tortilla
— Add another layer of cheese before placing another tortilla on top of it.
— Push the top tortilla down to create a little bit of a ‘stick’ with the melting cheese.
— Flip after about 15-20 seconds, very carefully, by sliding the spatula underneath and holding the top tortilla with your hand. Be careful to avoid burning yourself.
— A minute or two later, plate it up.

If you are a spicy food lover like me, you will love this delicious concoction.

Leave the recipe as is or modify it! Whatever you do, give it a shot and let me know what you think about it.

Crazy Cajun Chicken Wings on the Blackstone Griddle (Recipe!)

Crazy Cajun chicken wings on the 36″ Blackstone Griddle.

This is a quick, easy and simple one! I bought a 4 lb. pack of chicken wings from my local grocery store, cut off the wing tips (and disposed of them) and separated the drums from the flats. This made up a little over 20-some wings for $7 (they were marked down to around $1.19/lb.).

All you need
Chicken wings!
Blackstone Crazy Cajun seasoning
Basting cover (optional; I used this one from Blackstone Products)
Duck fat spray (optional)
Oil (I used olive oil)

Instructions
— I sprayed both sides of the drums and flats with duck fat spray and then applied the Crazy Cajun seasoning. I love the duck fat spray in particular because it helps you achieve a crispy skin.
— I fired up two burners of my 36″ Blackstone Griddle and set them both to high.
— Added a thin coating of olive oil to the griddle surface once it was blazing hot, about 10 minutes in.
— Added the wings and covered them with the basting cover for a few minutes
— After a few minutes, I moved the wings around using a pair of tongs and re-covered.
— I repeated that process a couple of times and removed the basting cover from use and turned the heat down to medium until finishing up the wings.

I used a thermometer probe to check the temperature of the wings (I love my Thermapen Mk4 by Thermoworks). I like to get mine to around 175-180 degrees.

I timed this cook! I started them at 5:05 p.m. and finished them up at about 5:25 p.m. for an 18-minute cook time!

I write that the basting cover is optional, but if you aren’t using one, I recommend cooking the wings on medium heat, and doing it without a cover will take 30-40 minutes. I like using the cover because it helps the temps on the inside cook faster before you finish them off to ensure a crispy skin.

These wings were delicious and flavorful. I’m a bit of an unabashed salt fiend, and I have to say the Crazy Cajun seasoning is quite salty, so I loved them. The meat pulled right off the wings very easily and the skin was super crispy, just the way I like it.

When I got my Blackstone, I never thought of doing wings on them, but man oh man are they good. The flat top surface will ensure that you achieve a crispy skin with ease, and the basting cover — which I highly recommend even though I write that its use is genuinely optional — helps cook them faster than without it.

Deep-fried wings? Excellent.
Smoked/grilled wings? Excellent.
Griddle-cooked wings? Just as excellent as deep-fried and smoked/grilled!

Give it a shot and let me know what you think about it.

The Absolute Best Oil for Seasoning Your Blackstone Griddle

People argue about it like cats and dogs on the Blackstone Griddle Owners group on Facebook. It has been going on for years, almost daily. You have the crowd who are flax oil die-hards — not for cooking with it, but merely for seasoning the griddle with it — and then you have those who are set in their niche ways, believing in the almighty powers of lard or Crisco to get the job done.

Thankfully, my grizzly self is here to tell you the best oil in the world that you can possibly use for taking care of your Blackstone griddle and preparing it for the next cooking session.

Are you ready?

Here’s the answer: It absolutely doesn’t matter. You can use any kind of oil that you want and acquire the same result as everyone else who takes care of their griddles, in the end.

I butchered the seasoning on my 36″ Blackstone Griddle due to a lack of patience, back in August 2017, although everything turned out fine. When I bought the 17″ tabletop Blackstone Griddle, you know what I used? It certainly wasn’t $8-$10 bucks on a bottle of flax oil (since it is worthless for actual cooking where the smoke point is so low); I bought a small 98 cent bottle of vegetable oil, and it worked just as fine as any other oil. Vegetable oil certainly isn’t the healthiest thing to cook with, but for seasoning the griddle? Not only is it economically superior versus flax oil given the extreme price difference, it will yield the same result (a slick, black, non-stick surface for your griddle).

Speaking of the low smoke point of flax oil, I think that’s why many of the flax oil die-hards choose it for seasoning their griddles, because you want to add multiple thin coatings of oil and allow it to burn and smoke off. However, I’ve read horror stories about people using flax oil to season their griddles, as some people have said a crust will form and cause it to flake. Devil’s advocates of those comments have stated that the reason this happens is because people add too much oil onto the flat top surface instead of a thin coating.

Regardless, you don’t have to spend steak money just to season your griddle.

At the end of the day, no matter what cooking oil you use, you will achieve a dark, slick, non-stick surface, not to mention that every time you use your griddle to cook with, it will further season the griddle and aid in your efforts to take care of it over time.

The more you cook on your Blackstone Griddle, the more you are taking care of it and the overwhelming likelihood that it will never rust.