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Friday, June 28, 2013

Deep Sea Triple Play: Grilled Swordfish Santa Maria Style. Part 3 of 3

For the final post in this series, we have grilled Swordfish with Santa Maria seasonings.  Swordfish is a meatier fish.  It almost takes on red meat textures when grilled.  I have never seen it marinaded, although I do not see why you couldn't.  I chose to make this piece of fish like a steak: rubbed and grilled over high heat.

First, I washed the steak, sprayed both sides with a thin mist of olive oil, then I applied a liberal coating of Santa Maria Rub from Oakridge BBQ.

I then fired up the grill and allowed the rub to absorb into the fish.  Then, when the grill was ready, I placed on direct heat.  On the direct heat, I let the fish cook for five minutes a side.

As you can see it is a thicker piece of fish.  I have read that Swordfish can be susceptible to parasites.  So, I always grill Swordfish until it is firm and well done.  After the time on direct heat, I moved the fish away from the heat and cooked on indirect heat with the grill door closed until firm to the touch.  This was about seven more minutes a side.

I was a little hesitant to use the Santa Maria seasoning as I thought it might overpower this cut of fish.  I was wrong.  The flavors of the rub mingled nicely with the fish.  Tender and moist.  This Swordfish steak paired nicely with some grilled zucchini and onions.

This concludes our series on grilling deep sea fish.  Now, back to good old BBQ!

Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Deep Sea Triple Play: Grilled Dolphin with Latin Style Marinade. Part 2 of 3

Before you yell, we did not fillet and grill Flipper.  Another name for Dolphin is Mahi-Mahi.  Here is what they look like:

They are the ones with the yellow bellies and the ugly high foreheads.  But, they sure do taste great.  Dolphin is a nice mild fish that is great for grilling.  It is traditionally filleted and is an off white color with some pink overtones.

Due to the mildness of the fish, it does accept flavor from marinades easily.  Just a warning when grilling.  It is a semi-firm fish.  So, it can break down if not handled properly.  Be careful and only flip once.

Now for the marinade.  I was looking for some Latin flavors.  So, I used:

1/2 cup Orange Juice
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp each ground cumin, chili powder, and onion powder.

I mixed it all up and let the fish marinade in a plastic bag for one hour.

Then, I placed the Dolphin on a hot grill on direct heat.

After three minutes, I flipped, let sit on the other side for three minutes, then moved to indirect heat for 10 minutes while closing the grill lid.  Here is the final product.

Flaky and tender, this fish had a nice subtle bite from the chili powder and citrus undertones from the OJ.  This was a winner and we will be making this again.

Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Deep Sea Triple Play: Yellowfin Tuna. Part 1 of 3

As I said the other day, our fish thawed out on the way home from the beach, so I have to cook them up this week.  First up are Yellowfin Tuna steaks.  I love tuna as it cooks up nice, has a distinct mild flavor, and accepts flavor from marinade readily.  I usually like my tuna raw as sushi, but from time to time, I do like it grilled.

First, I created a lime ginger marinade.  Here are the ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced fine
1 Tbsp of sriracha sauce
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp of sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime

Mix it all up to mingle...

Place the steaks in the marinade for 1 hour...

Then, place the steaks on a hot fire with direct heat to sear.  Flip after 1 minute, then move to indirect heat to finish cooking...

On indirect heat, I cooked the steaks for 5 minutes a side.  At this point they are cooked the whole way through with no pink, but not overcooked.  I know, some would think they are over done at this point.  Even I think that.  But, the family likes their fish well done.  So, we compromise.  I get the flavors I want and they get the doneness they want...

How were they?  Nice and tender with ginger, lime, and soy overtones.  The sriracha gives a nice bite on the tongue going down.  This is a go to recipe for me when grilling tuna.

Thanks for stopping by...


Monday, June 17, 2013

Fish, Shellfish, and Waterspouts at the Outer Banks

If you haven't noticed, it has been a bit slow on the ole Three Dogs Blog.  Part of the time I have been traveling for work.  But, I also got away for our yearly vacation to Cape Hatteras.  This year was jam packed.  Here are some pics...

Day one, we went down to the marina to scope out a possible charter for some deep sea fishing.  Unfortunately, it was a windy week and we could not make it onto a make up charter as there was only one good day and the boats were booked full.  This is what they were bringing in during the week:

Nice sized Mahi-Mahi, Yellowfin Tuna, and a Wahoo or two were the order of the day on every boat.  There was even a local waiting on some scraps...

Hope cleaned her first fish: 4 sea bass and a nice bluefish...

The boys went digging for shellfish one day and pulled in some oysters, clams, and a mussel or two...

Finally, one day, we saw three waterspouts out over the sound in the span of 15 minutes...

We picked up some Yellowfin, Mahi-Mahi, and Swordfish to have over the winter.  Unfortunately, the fish thawed on the way home.  So, I and predict a series on how to grill some fish in the very near future...

Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Blast from the Past: Homemade Portable Smoker

Last year, a friend of mine sent me pictures of a project he fiddled with creating a homemade portable smoker to take camping or out for picnics.   Well, a year later, he is entering his first non-sanctioned BBQ cook off this upcoming weekend.  So, in honor of his first foray into competition BBQ, here is a look back down memory lane.  As for the competition, we'll let you know how that turns out...

Ascot the smoker, maybe some of you will be inspired to make one for your summertime fun!

Thanks for stopping by...


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mini Texas BBQ Tour

A few weeks ago, I was in Texas on business.  My first stop was Austin and my second stop was Cleburne, just west of Dallas-Ft. Worth.  As to be expected, I took the opportunity to sample the local BBQ.

In Austin, I asked for good Que close to my hotel since it was a long day of traveling.  It was recommended by my customer to visit Vic's BBQ about a mile from my hotel.

Vic's is a little joint nestled in a small strip mall next to a convenience store.  A bit run down looking, but aren't those the best spots?  Upon walking in, you are directed to the counter situated right next to the menu.

After scanning the menu and the meat, I settled on the Three Meat combo with two sides.

Since I was in Texas, I had to try the hot links and brisket, and I chose some pork spare ribs for my third meat.  Unfortunately, beef rib night is on Thursday.  My sides were jalapeno pintos and cole slaw.  The whole platter was served with the two customary slices of squishy white bread.

How was everything.  Well, lets start with the good.  The brisket and rib meat was cooked to a perfect tenderness.  The hot link had a nice snappy skin and the cole slaw was fresh and not limp.  The beans were tender as well and the bread was fresh not stale.  Unfortunately, this plate was devoid of flavor.  Where were the jalapenos in the beans?  Where was the rub on the brisket and ribs?  Where was the spicy goodness in the hot links?  Where was the vinegar in the cole slaw?  Everything was tasteless.  Even the sauce couldn't save the taste buds on this plate.  To sum it all up, the whole plate was a perfectly cooked ode to blandness.  If you like tender meat, Vic's is for you.  If you want some spice and taste, go elsewhere.

Bottom line, Vic's BBQ gets a C.  It may have been a bad day for the spice and the perfectly tender meats saved this visit.

The next day as I was driving though Cleburne, I found this little joint, Buffalo Creek BBQ.

After the experience at Vic's the day before, I was not planning on BBQ.  I was going to go Mexican.  But, I was hungry, I couldn't find Mexican, and this place just appeared out of no where.  So, I parked and in I went.

The place is run by 5 little old ladies with an average age of around 65.  I was a bit hesitant, but I was already there and the gentleman in front of me had just picked up a pound of BBQ Bologna.  The place couldn't be all that bad.  Right?  So, I scanned the meats and made my choices.

I went again with the Three Meat combo with two sides.

I had the hot links, brisket, and smoked turkey with the spicy sauce and for sides I had the pintos and cornbread salad.  How was it?  Pure heaven.

Again, the meat was cooked to the perfect tenderness.  But, this stuff had flavor.  The hot links were bursting with garlic and spice.  The brisket was fork tender and seasoned to perfection with just the right amount of heat.  The turkey was the biggest surprise.  It was brined perfectly with a slightly sweet and spicy rub.  The hickory smoke was just right.  The beans were tender and had a nice level of spice that left the lips tingling and begging for more.  I had never had Cornbread Salad before, but it was wonderful.  The best I can tell it is day old sweet cornbread that is coarsely crumbled.  To it, they added smoked bacon cooked crisp, finely diced green pepper and onion, and just enough mayo to hold it all together.  I will be trying to make this at home.

Overall, A+!  The best BBQ I have ever had that was not from a competition.  I wish they were within driving distance.  If you are ever in Cleburne, Buffalo Creek BBQ is a must add to your bucket list.

Thanks for stopping by...


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Restaurant Review: Bar Symon.

Full disclosure: Michael Symon is my favorite Iron Chef, hands down.  I like his style, I like what he cooks, I like how he carries himself.  That being said, he may be a huge arse in person.  But, for now I like him.

So, you can imagine being the business traveller that I am how happy I was that he was going to open a chain of restaurants targeting the business traveller market in airports.  Pittsburgh was lucky enough to get one and I have been lucky enough to be catching flights at lunch time.  So, lets review.

The establishments are well thought out with plenty of seating room and pathways to roll your carry on between the tables.  The bar is well stocked with a nice selection of domestic and local bottled beer, as well as a nice selection of draft microbrews.

The menu is a comfort food heaven.  They have several types of fries and pastas that can be combined with various types of meats: pulled pork, grilled chicken, and sausage come to mind.  Sandwiches are available as well.

For my first visit, I settled with fries smothered with southern sausage gravy, cheddar cheese, and chopped scallions.

The fries were crispy, and the sausage gravy was perfect.  I consider myself a master of sausage gravy and biscuits.  Let me tell you something, this was perfect.  Spicy breakfast sausage mixed with a creamy gravy base.  The scallions bring it all together.  Also, the portion size was right on.  Just enough to get you to your next meal, no so much to leave you feeling bloated in a cramped coach seat.

For my second visit, I had an American Classic: Mac and Cheese with a basic cheddar cheese sauce.

The pasta was a perfect al dente, the cheese sauce was bursting with cheddar cheese flavor, and the dish was covered with just the right amount of toasted bread crumbs.  My only issue was the rue.  It was a bit grainy, but no so much so to detract from the experience.  Not every chef can bring their A game all the time.

Top it off with reasonable pricing (as airport pricing goes) and very friendly service from the staff, Bar Symon should be on your bucket list on your next airport layover.

Overall grade: A.  no A+ due to the grainy rue.  I can't wait for my next visit.

Thanks for stopping by...