A super easy (and fast!) recipe for delicious grilled shrimp marinated in a spicy and sweet chipotle honey lime marinade quickly grilled to perfection. Perfect for summer grilling season or taco night.

Any shrimp fans in the house?

Be prepared to see some chipotle love around here the next couple weeks. I’ve been on a kick using one of my favorite marinade ingredients. I love both the dried spice and the canned chipotle in adobo sauce. The later is what we’re using today.

Don’t be afraid of the canned chipotle in adobo sauces. I know they may seem scary and spicy, and in all honesty as a raw ingredient, with nothing else, they can be pretty darn spicy. But who’s digging in and eating them straight from a can. Not me!

I’m not lying though when I tell you that using these delicious smoked jalapenos as a marinade, when combined with a few sweet ingredients to balance the heat (like honey and orange juice), is a perfect balance of sweet and spicy.

I love using this combination as a marinade for several proteins, but we’ve balanced the ingredients in this one specific for shrimp to not take away from the natural flavors of shrimp, but also create balance for a winning combination.

How to make a Chipotle Marinade

We start with a can of chipotle in adobo sauce. Measure out about 1/3 of a cup, both the sauce and the peppers. Don’t be scared! We’re then adding some flavor with the garlic and shallots, and sweetness with the honey and orange juice (I prefer fresh squeezed. *Tip: my favorite is to use those small Cutie oranges. They’ve got great concentration of flavor.), a bit of salt for flavor, and olive oil to bind everything together.

Add 1 lb of cleaned shrimp to the marinade. This may not seem like it, but 1 lb is a lot of shrimp. Just look.

Buyers Tip: Shrimp comes in many sizes, when you see 26 – 32 or other variations of numbers, that is how many shrimp per pound you can expect, so now you can rock out your order by saying, I’ll take a pound of 26-32 please.

Now grill these bad boys on direct heat for just two minutes per side.

That’s it!

You can enjoy straight from the skewers or use as a filling for tacos. However you eat them, they’re sure to go fast!

Even our kiddos love these. And our boys can take some heat, but not too much, so you know they’re not overly spicy!

Grilled Chipotle Marinated Shrimp Skewers

Easy grilled shrimp marinated in a spicy and sweet chipotle honey lime marinade and quickly grilled to perfection. Great appetizer for summer grilling season or filling for tacos.

  • 2 lb shrimp, ((we use 26-32 count shrimp peeled and deveined) )
Chipotle Honey Lime Marinade
  • 1/3 cup chipotle in adobo sauce (both peppers and sauce)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Place all marinade ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined and pureed.

  2. Place the marinade ingredients in a large gallon sized plastic bag and add the shrimp. Mix together and place in the refrigerator to marinate for one hour. 

  3. Preheat grill for direct cooking.

  4. Thread shrimp on to metal skewers and discard the marinade. 

  5. Grill the shrimp skewers for two minutes, flip once for about 90 seconds. The shrimp should go from an opaque look to a pink color, but be sure to watch after the flip as it won’t take long to finish the other side.

Special equipment: metal skewers or wood (if using wood, make sure to soak them for at least 20 minutes prior to cooking)

Want More Flavor? Add some of your favorite dry rub or simply sprinkle salt and pepper over the pre-cooked skewered shrimp for extra flavor.


For wine I’m reaching for something refreshing with these, like a semi-dry Riesling or a fruity rosé. Something that can handle the mix of smoky and sweet flavors from the marinade, but also counterbalance by refreshing the palate after each spicy bite!

What would you pair?

If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes. 

For more tasty recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, check out the Recipe Index.

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Before you say, “Whaaaaaa the? Prunes and chicken??” Just take a deep breath and trust me.

The combination of grill roasted rich prunes and earthy ancho chilies mixed with grilled chicken is a winning combination! 

So, there’s an awesome group of wine bloggers I’m friends with and we get together (virtually) a couple times a year on Twitter to taste wines from Pedroncelli Winery out of Sonoma County. But instead of just tasting wines and talking about wine notes (which can often be a bit boring!), we all make a recipe chosen by the winery to pair with a specific wine and chat about the food pairing while talking to the winemaker. What I love about the family is that they always select some obscure ingredient or recipe that, when you look at it you think, “Um, you want me to make whaaat?”

Well that’s what I do at least, especially when they wanted me to cook with prunes.

Inspired by this New York Times recipe, they called for cooking the chicken over a large sauté pan, then creating a sauce with sherry, miso, prunes, and soaked dried ancho chilies. But you guys know I never play by the rules. Why cook indoors when you have a grill?!

So we adapted the recipe for outdoor cooking.

Starting with smoking the chicken on the grill.

We started the chicken fairly low, around 250 degrees F, on our Big Green Egg with a couple wood chunks mixed with the coals for extra smoky flavor, then increased the temperature to 400 degrees F towards the end to get some nice grill marks and a crispy crust. Whether you decide to smoke at a lower temperature, or hot, you do just make sure to cook to proper temperature (165 degrees F) using a good digital thermometer.

When your chicken is done, remove it and set it aside. Place the dried chilies in a bowl and add near boiling water, you want that to sit for at least 30 minutes or until the chilies are soft and rehydrated.

Now you need to keep heat on the grill, we are going to use the pan and make the dish on the grill. You can see the heat plate below that helps avoid scorching the pan if it was direct flame under, but inside the BGE it’s plenty hot. Place a large skillet directly on your grill and add olive oil, onion, and garlic to sauté until soft. We would stir and close lid to make sure we took advantage of the heat. Then add your seasonings, some white wine and chicken stock and miso. Next add the chicken pieces the softened dried chilies (removed from the water), and the prunes. Stir together, close lid, then let those bad boys mingle and become good friends, around 15-20 mins. Alternatively, you can do all of the steps (minus the chicken) on your stovetop while the chicken is grilling, and then transfer outside to add the chicken pieces to finish the cooking on the grill. If you feel like there isn’t enough liquid, add more stock and miso and taste for flavor.

Let’s get a little closer shall we???

Just look at that crispy chicken and all of those flavorful juices! You know it’s gonna be a good meal.

That’s it. Finally, ask your husband to pull the dish from the grill so you can get one last photo, for dramatic sake, then it’s time to serve.

Now comes the fun part!

Grilled Chicken with Ancho Chilies and Prunes

Combine grill roasted rich prunes and earthy ancho chilies mixed with grilled chicken for a unique and delicious chicken dinner. 

*Adapted from a New York Times recipe, provided by Pedroncelli Winery (link in notes below).

  • 1 whole chicken, cut up into 6 pieces (buy pre cut or ask your butcher to cut a whole roaster chicken into pieces for you)
  • 2+ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (1 for the chicken, 1 for the sauce)
  • 1/4 cup chicken seasonings: ≈ ((we use a combination of salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic))
  • 12 dried ancho chilies
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 12 pitted prunes, sliced in half
  • 1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped ((for garnish))
To Grill the Chicken
  1. Preheat your grill to 250 degrees. 

  2. Coat the chicken with olive oil, then liberally coat the chicken with your favorite chicken dry rub (or simply salt and pepper). 

  3. Place chicken on grill on indirect heat and cook about 30 – 45 minutes minutes. 

    When the chicken gets to around 150 degrees internal temperature place on direct heat to get some char marks. 

    Remove the chicken when it gets to 165 degrees F.

For the Ancho Chili and Prune Sauce
  1. Place the ancho chilies in a small bowl, cover with near boiling water and set aside. (boiling is fine too, just pull it off right when the bubbles start)

  2. In a large saucepan set to medium heat (or directly on the hot grill) add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the onions. Let the onions soften (around 5 minutes), then add garlic, and mix together for one minute. Add the cumin, stock, wine, and miso.

  3. Drain the chilies and cut in half to remove seeds and core. Chop the chilies and add to the sauce. Next add the prunes and the grilled chicken pieces. Return the pot to the grill (or leave on the stovetop). Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, basting 1-2 times to get some of those delicious juices on the chicken. Remove from heat. 

  4. Serve by placing a chicken piece on a plate and top with loads of that tasty sauce with the chilies and prunes. 

*For part 2, making the sauce, you can make it directly on the grill or on your stovetop. You may have more control over the process while doing it on your stovetop, and the timing and temperature will be more consistent. Doing it outside is certainly more fun, but the times may very as your temperature may fluctuate more if you keep your lid open too long. Cook by look, meaning cook the onions until they look like they have softened, and then add more liquids if the sauce looks like it’s thinking out too much. 


*Adapted from this New York Times recipe, provided by Pedroncelli Winery (link in notes).

Wine Pairing

We’ve got a lot of flavors going on in this dish. The crispy grilled chicken, the earthy chilies soaked in that broth, and the slight sweetness from this rich prunes. I like to bring out those smoky and earthy flavors when we can. Some Syrahs will do, especially if they’re well balanced and not too rich in textures. Those from the Rhone Valley would work quite well with this.

For the Pedroncelli tasting we tasted the dish with three very different wines; a white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurstraminer, a Rosé of Zinfandel, and a Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet was my pick for the dish as it had great structure and rich fruity flavors that complimented the spices from the chicken and the textures in the sauce quite nicely. Plus it wasn’t a heavy or overly tannic Cab so it was much more well suited for a dish like this.

Based on the recipe, what would you pair with this dish?

If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes. 

The wines in this post were provided as samples for review. See my review policy here

For more tasty recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, check out the Recipe Index.

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An incredibly flavorful way to use leftover Kettle chip crumbs (or other favored potato chip), or just to jazz up your next pork tenderloin with some great flavor!

We have an unhealthy addiction to something in my household. I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but we’re friends right?

We have a Kettle chip addiction. But not just any Kettle chip. I’m talking jalapeño flavored Kettle chips. It’s been going on for years. It started with my mom, who would always sneak a bag (or two) in each grocery run we’d do. Then it rubbed off on Sean, who now never comes home from the store sans jalapeño Kettle chip.

And now it’s just a thing.

They’re always in our house! So I’ve just accepted them as a regular part of our diet. Our kids are even obsessed.

At any given time you’ll find about 4 bags with crumbs in them that I just can’t part with (because, flavor!).

Admitting we have a problem is the first step, right? No??

Am I alone in my kettle chip addiction?

The good news is that none of them go to waste, because we learned years ago that these bad boys are a fantastic substitute for a dry rub.

You probably don’t remember (because it happened in the caveman days) but we won a national recipe contest with a similar recipe for Cheddar Beer Kettle Chip Crusted Smoked Pork Tenderloin. I think this was our first food competition that we won, and we were blown away (how cool is that?!).

Since then we always save our Kettle chip remains to use as a sub for either a dry rub or a breading (or even better both), for chicken and pork recipes (sometimes even fish! Hello Kettle Chip Breaded Fried Fish).

Kettle Chips = Dry Rub and Breading

If you think about it, the chips have pretty much what you would be using anyways for a dry rub and/or a breading for something like chicken or pork — seasonings and crunch.

Instead of breadcrumbs, we’re subbing these potato chips. The chips are already coated in a mix of powerfully flavored seasonings. They also have a great crunch, eliminating the need for bread crumbs or panko. 

Not all Kettle Chips are created equal though. The krinkle cut chips are stronger and sturdier and more crunchy as a crust. The regular potato chips, while they have great flavor when snacking alone, may need a little more support.

For the Jalapeño flavored ones, we like to crush them and then add a few more things to jazz up the flavor.

Which brings me to this.

Anytime you make a dry rub or breading, TASTE IT BEFORE YOU COOK IT!

Seriously, taste it before committing to it.

Don’t just take my word for it. Because you may not like exactly what I like. Or your chips may be a bit dull and in need of a little pick me up. There’s nothing raw in a dry rub, so put your finger all up in that mix and taste it. Or if you’re all sanitary (as you should if you are doing this professionally) then use a spoon. Then adjust the flavors.

How to make a Kettle Chip Bread Crumbs
  • Method 1: place the chips in your food processor and go to town (or at least pulse until they are of a breading consistency).
  • Method 2: place in a plastic bag and crush the heck out of them until you get the fine breadcrumb consistency. This method is quite therapeutic I might add.

Next, pour into a bowl, and taste. Does it need something? Maybe it’s more salt? Some heat? Some sweet? Add those flavors and adjust.

For the Jalapeño chips we added a mix of kosher salt, coarse pepper, and garlic powder. The additional seasonings are options.

Next coat your pork tenderloin with either some olive oil or Dijon mustard. This will help the breading/rub to adhere to the meat.

Now get that grill or smoker going!

We’re setting our smoker to 225 temp for this. Then cooking for about 60 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meat is 145 degrees F. If you want to grill at a higher heat go for it. Just monitor the temperature as it will cook quicker the higher the heat.

That’s it.

You’ve got great flavor, and a great way to use those chip bits that otherwise would have been tossed in the trash. Look at you, being all resourceful and not wasting food!

If this method can win a national cooking award, believe me, it’s worth trying (especially if you have a Kettle chip addiction like I do).

Thanks, mom, for creating an addict.

Jalapeño Kettle Chips Crusted Grilled Pork Tenderloin

A great way to use leftover potato chips or use as an impromptu crust if you don’t have breadcrumbs or dry rub. This adds great flavor to pork tenderloin and is also great with chicken. 

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ cup jalapeño flavored Kettle chips (or other leftover potato chips)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper
  1. Preheat Smoker to 225 degrees using a fruit wood (we like apple).

  2. Prepare dry rub by adding a large handful of chips into a food processor until you have ½ cup of ground chips. Place ground chips into a bowl and add garlic powder, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste preference. 

  3. Trim the silver skin off of the tenderloin, and then coat with olive oil. Then place dry rub on tenderloin liberally. Can do this a couple of hours prior to cooking (keep in fridge until ready to cook).

  4. Place tenderloin on the smoker for about an hour or until the Internal Temperature is 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare and then remove from heat.
  5. Let rest for 10 minutes and then slice for serving.
  6. A great side is roasted potatoes or a puree.

If you want more of a crispy crust consider grilling at a higher temp or cranking up the heat towards the end. You’ll still want to remove at 145 degrees F internal temperature. 

 Wine Pairing 

I love to drink white wines with this particular pork tenderloin dish. You can certainly opt for red, and if you do stick with something lighter (like Gamay, or a lighter style Pinot Noir). But why not try it with something like a fresh and vibrant Albariño, dry Riesling, or even Pinot Gris. I like how these fresh and fragrant wines play with the natural juiciness of the pork and the flavorful crust. Another awesome pairing is Rosé, and guess what, the season is almost upon us! #yeswayrosé

What about you? Do you cook with leftover potato chips? Have you tried using them as a crust or dry rub?

If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes. 

For more tasty recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, check out the Recipe Index.

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How to add another element of great flavor to a Classic All-American Cheeseburger.

There’s something fun about an over the top gigantic burger with a million additions, but there’s something comforting about a classic. We’re doing a reverse sear method using a grill and wood chunks to give your burgers incredible smoked flavor and that perfect char to finish. 

I love going to a restaurant and seeing a broad menu of burger options. We have a restaurant near us with over 15 burger choices. I can pretty much guarantee some burger flavor combination that will fit my mood. But sometimes, what I really crave, is that classic All-American burger that focuses on a simple but great quality ground beef, fresh veggies like white onion, fresh crunchy lettuce, tomato, and a bun. The flavor takes me back to back yard BBQs with family in the summer and that scent of charcoal burning.

So we thought, why not give a nod to that classic burger recipe but add a slight twist. A smoky twist, and follow a sort-of reverse sear style method to our meat to give an extra layer of flavor — a smoked kick.

The Cut

Ground beef of course. And while you can do it yourself, it requires a grinder and a lot of people don’t have one. So you have to rely on your butcher or grocery store. With ground beef you can expect it to come from various parts of the cow, but commonly it’s ground chuck. Sometimes a butcher will grind up a brisket, because it has a great fat to meat ratio. And no matter where the beef is ground from, you want to be sure you have a good fat to lean ratio. You will see ground beef in the case with a label, like 80/20 or 85/15. This refers to how much meat vs. fat you are getting in the cut. Fat adds flavor and moisture to a burger, and that is why we are going with one of those two ratios. If you go lean like 97/3 you will run into the burger overcooking quickly.

The Cook

We are going to reverse sear this one on our Weber Kettle. We’ll start on a smoky and low heat setting like 225 degrees F, and will place in an indirect cooking setup. In order to get the lower heat, you only fill your charcoal starter a quarter of the way, otherwise it’ll burn too hot. When coal ready, place in an indirect set up and add a couple of wood chunks, add meat when you see the cooker a couple of minutes at your desired temperature. Add more charcoal when you are done with the smoke and then get the fire to its hottest again.

The Burger

When the fire is ready, smoke the burger for about an hour, and then pull it off and finish over a high heat until the internal temperature is at your desired doneness. If you know where the meat is coming from you can cook to a medium rare, if you don’t know the meat, consider it all the way to 160 (meaning if you know your meat has been freshly ground from a trusted butcher you can cook to med-rare. Otherwise, if you are unsure the quality or when it was ground its safer to cook to 160 to avoid food borne illness).

Add cheese closer to your desired doneness.

Build it and they will come. But first make sure to Instagram the heck out of those burgers!

Add your favorite fresh ingredients, condiments, and dig in with a side of fries an a glass of wine.
It really is that easy, and that extra smoke will add a great flavor.

Classic All American Grilled Cheeseburger with a Twist — Smoked Reverse Seared

A Classic All-American Cheeseburger with a twist. These are reverse seared on a Weber Kettle grill with smoke chunks giving it great smoke flavor, then finished hot for the perfect char. 

  • 1 pound ground beef, (we use 80/20 lean)
  • 2 tablespoons your favorite dry rub, (we like a combination of salt/pepper/garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ white onion, (sliced)
  • 1 large tomato, (sliced)
  • 4 slices mild cheddar cheese
  • butter lettuce
  • 1 dill pickle
  • 4 hamburger buns
  1. Preheat grill and prep for indirect cooking.

  2. Combine rub and Worcestershire with the ground beef and form into 4 patties.

  3. When grill at desired temperature (we go for 225) place the burger on the indirect side of the grill.

  4. Pull burger when it reaches 125 degrees F and then stoke fire or add more charcoal to get heat. Let the charcoal re-ignite to get a hot fire on the direct side of the grill.

  5. Place burger over direct side of grill. Cook four minutes per side and continue to flip until you get closer to your completed temperature. Add cheese when you have roughly 5 minutes left in the cook.

  6. Construct your burger and then enjoy with your favorite wine or beer

Wine Recommendations 

I’ve written before on what it means to be a good “burger wine”. When it comes to pairing wine with burgers, the options are equally endless.  I would argue that there is probably a burger for every single bottle of wine out there, and vice versa.  It boils down to what kind of burger. Meat or veggie burger. Toppings and condiments.  How it’s cooked and prepared.

For these Classic All American Reverse Seared Cheeseburgers, they have a great smoked element, combined with the savory meat, and a variety of toppings. I like to play with the smoke elements to enhance that great flavor. Grenache or Syrah from the Rhone region of France are excellent bets. Tempranillo, either from Spain, or even some local Oregon versions are awesome too. You can even go for Malbec from Argentina. I wouldn’t recommend anything too overly tannic though (like Cabernet Sauvignon). Let’s keep them fruity, spicy, and smoky for this burger.

What would you pair?  Want More Burger Recipes? Turkey Burgers with Bacon Paste

Smoked Mexican Burgers with Chorizo and Smoked Poblanos 

For more tasty recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, check out the Recipe Index.

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How to add incredible flavor to boring turkey burgers.

Turkey burgers can tend to come out dry and flavorless. Adding bacon paste to ground turkey adds not only flavor but great moisture lacking in most turkey burgers.

I’ll be the first to admit, when I transitioned from a vegetarian back into a meat eater it was a slow process. I went through a phase where I was shy on beef and friendly with poultry. We ate a lot of chicken and turkey during those days.

Granted we still eat our fair share of poultry and I especially like to change it up in our family, providing a variety of proteins throughout the week.

And since one of our kids has proclaimed he’s a pesca-bacon-tarian  we’ve been cooking less beef around here. Hence turkey.

But turkey burgers can be so boring and dry. We discovered years ago a magic ingredient that revolutionizes the boring turkey. Okay so it might not revolutionize it, but it jazzes it up for damn sure (can I see some jazz hands?!?!?!)

Bacon Paste

This ain’t your typical slice of bacon added to the top of a turkey burger to compensate for the lack of flavor found within the patty. Nor is it some expensive ingredient you have to buy at a specialty food store.

Nope. Bacon paste can be made easily, right at home in your food processor.

You just take uncooked bacon and mix it in a food processor until it becomes a paste, and then mix the paste into your patty.

Our favorite ratio is 2 pieces of thick cut, uncooked bacon, for every 1 pound of ground meat. That’s all you need to add a boatload of delicious flavor to your burgers. Seriously…a boatload.

Bacon paste becomes the binder and fat that not only keeps the burgers together, but also elevates the flavor of burger beyond your typical boring patty you may buy at the store.

The Meat

With any kind of ground meat intended for burgers you want some fat. Ground beef is purchased typically by it’s fat content, so you’ll see things like 85/15 or 90/10. That means the ratio of meat to fat. And fat is flavor. For more flavor try out 80/20 for best results.

Ground Turkey

When buying ground turkey the same ratio rules apply, however something to consider is going to your local butcher and mixing up some white and dark meat ground to the same ratio’s you would expect from a beef burger. 75/25 or 85/15 is fantastic. If you go too lean on a burger, regardless of turkey or beef, the flavor will be muted and it is much more likely to fall apart even with binding agents.

Even with a good amount of fat in ground turkey it can still be dull tasting and dry. Which brings us to the bacon paste.

Just add the bacon paste into the ground turkey mixture and make your patties. 

And as opposed to adding cooked bacon on top (which you can still do as well. I won’t ever judge for overdoing it on the bacon), adding the raw bacon paste to your burgers adds incredible flavor as well as fat (moisture) to ensure your burgers don’t dry out.

Bacon and Nutrition! 

Did I mention the nutritional value of adding bacon paste? Did you know pork fat was named the #8 most nutritious food in the world by the BBC. Not lying! They claim Pork fat is more unsaturated and healthier than beef fat. So go add your bacon fat and feel no regret!

Mix & Grill

Add the rest of your ingredients to the ground meat, and mix to combine everything into patties.

If you want to add cheese (who wouldn’t?) add it in the final minutes of cooking (see notes).

Turkey Burgers with Bacon Paste

Discover the magic of bacon paste and how it can add incredible flavor to boring turkey burgers. These turkey burgers have are full of great flavor and moisture. There’s nothing boring about these turkey burgers!

  • 2 pieces thick cut bacon
  • 1 pound ground turkey (a mix of white and dark meat works great)
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (just a few twists from your grinder)
  • 4 burger buns
  • Optional toppings
  1. Preheat your grill for indirect method (see instructions on direct vs. indirect here).

  2. Place two pieces of uncooked bacon in a food processor and pulse until it turns into a paste (should only take about 3-4 pulses).

  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix ground turkey with bacon paste, onion, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika in a large bowl with your hands being careful to not over mix.

  4. Form the burgers into four equal sized patties.

  5. Place on grill over direct heat. Cook about 4 minutes per side for grill marks and a nice char, then transfer to indirect heat. *If you’re adding cheese do it here, when you add it to indirect heat. And then cover until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. 

  6. Remove burgers from heat and build your burgers. 

Flavor tip: If using a charcoal grill, add wood chunks to the charcoal mix. This will add some smoke and most importantly natural flavor from the wood. Yum.

The Video 

Wine Pairing

I’ve written at length on what it means to be a good “burger wine”.  For these turkey burgers, we kept them simple with basic toppings (tomato, onion, pickle). The bacon adds a great smokiness and savoriness that lends itself to several styles of wine. If you want something big and powerful look to New World Syrah (California and Washington make excellent examples). For something medium bodied, try Côtes du Rhône (Syrah and Grenache based blends from France). For a refreshing lighter bodied alternative, Spanish Rosé is a nice choice with its bright fresh flavors and strong acidity.

More Bacon Paste Recipes

Want to know what else you can do with bacon paste?

Turkey Meatballs with Bacon Paste

Smoked Meatball Sandwiches

For more tasty recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, check out the Recipe Index.

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Coffee adds great flavor to both a marinade and dry rub for a grilled New York Strip Steak. This recipe is easy enough for a weeknight, but indulgent enough for a special occasion.

For years I used to give Sean a hard time for being obsessed with visiting Starbucks on a daily basis during work. The guy used to take his breaks to go to the S-bux nearest his office and spend $3-5/day… on coffee. It seemed wasteful to me (both financially and the time he wasted going back and forth).

So for Christmas a few years back I bought him a Nespresso machine that he could keep at his office. I figured, while it wasn’t the cheapest option, it was a better alternative than his Starbucks addiction. He loved it, and has been using it ever since, and has ended his love affair with Starbucks.

And then this past Christmas our own home coffee maker broke, and I was denied my daily caffeine jolt. It was terrible! And living in the country we don’t have the luxury of being able to swing by a coffee shop. So I made due with an old, small, French press made for camping. It wasn’t the same. For two full weeks I suffered. Then serendipitously the folks at Gourmesso reached out to me to partner on a recipe and sent me my very own Nespresso machine to experiment with. I finally got to see what the fuss was all about.

While I still enjoy having a pot of coffee to refill at my leisure, I’ve grown to appreciate the single cup richness provided by the Nespresso machine. And it’s nice to know there are more affordable pod refills out there to rely on like these Nespresso compatible pods from Gourmesso.

That being said, one of the cool things about having a single cup machine is being able to use coffee in recipes intended for dinner. Our pot is usually empty by 10am, so if we wanted to use coffee for a marinade we’d have to brew a new pot, which ends up being a bit wasteful. This method would also be fantastic to use in our Brisket Chili, which also has some coffee in it.

Making a single pod was a perfect solution. It makes it easy and quick to add that great rich flavor to a steak marinade.

NY Strips are a great candidate for a marinade like this. They really soak up that great flavor, but when grilled you still get to taste the purity of the meat.

We start this marinade with a cup of strong brewed coffee, then a cup of red wine, some Worcestershire, garlic, onions, sugar, and some dry rub and spices.

Let it marinate for about two hours.

After it’s done marinating, pat it dry and apply the dry rub.

We like to use coffee both in the marinade and also the dry rub. We start with a base of our favorite steak rub (roughly two tablespoons total of equal parts salt, pepper, garlic powder), then add to that 1 teaspoon of coffee grounds. Liberally apply to the steaks. As the steak soaks in the marinade it pulls that flavor into the meat. The coffee in the rub also adds a nice earthy dimension as the grounds interact with flame and the meat as it cooks.

Then time to grill.

Then get your grill nice and hot. Cook on direct heat for about 3 minutes per side, then transfer to indirect heat until your desired temperature (we go for around 125 degrees Fahrenheit for rare).

Coffee Marinated Grilled New York Strip Steak

Grilled New York Strip Steak marinaded in a rich coffee and wine base, then grilled. 

2 New York Strip Steaks (about 12 oz each)
    • 1 cup coffee
    • 1 cup red wine, (we used Pinot Noir)
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • ¼ cup Worcestershire
    • 1 small shallot, roughly chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves crushed
    • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
    Dry Rub
    • 2 tablespoons rub (equal parts salt, pepper, garlic powder)
    • 1 teaspoon dry ground coffee
    1. For marinade, combine all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag and place the NY strips into the bag. Let sit in the fridge for two hours.

    2. After two hours of marinade, remove the steaks from the fridge, take out of the bag and pat dry. Combine dry rub ingredients (equal parts salt, pepper, garlic), then add the ground coffee. Season the steaks with the dry rub and let come to room temperature while you prepare the grill.

    3. Set your charcoal grill for indirect cooking. Typically this will take 20 – 30 minutes with a charcoal chimney starter. For the love of God don’t use lighter fluid or its charcoal equivalent!

    4. Place your steaks over the direct heat for three minutes and cover grill. Then flip for another three minutes over direct heat and cover. Then move steaks to indirect heat and cover for around four more minute or until your desired internal temperature. We like to pull rare (125 degrees Fahrenheit).

    5. Let the meat sit for 15 minutes before cutting to let the juices redistribute and then cut and serve.


    While Cabernet Sauvignon is a usual choice for a grilled steak like this, it’s not the only choice. You want something with power and structure to stand up to the bold flavors of this grilled steak, but also with good acidity and moderate tannins to cut through the fat and richness of the dish. We tried this steak recently with a Rhone red from Gigondas and it was a remarkable match —  2015 Domaine La Bouissiere Gigondas (Rhone, France). As the wine opened it showed lots of fresh ground pepper, earthiness, and even a savory meatiness that was so interesting matched with the earthiness that showed in the steak. The wine was delicious, as was the steak!

    *The wine and Nespresso Machine were media samples for review. As always my opinions are my own.  See my sample policy here. 

    If you want to hang around and learn more I’d love it if you subscribe to Vindulge and have new posts delivered directly to your inbox.

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    A Pacific Northwest twist on a classic Aperol Spritz.

    Aperol Spritz gets a new personality by adding some homemade blackberry simple syrup. 

    Anybody who has been to the Veneto region of Northeast Italy will testify to the fact that the Aperol Spritz is *the* cocktail of the region. Shoot, many will say it’s *the* cocktail of the entire country!

    Hundreds of thousands of these refreshing drinks are sucked down daily, and for good reason.

    So I thought, with the introduction to my trip to the region last December, it was fitting to begin with a cocktail… though one with a Pacific Northwest twist.

    You see, the property we now live on in wine country is surrounded by blackberry bushes. Like crazy surrounded! I simply couldn’t keep up with the mass amount of blackberries on our farm last summer, nor did we have the room in our freezer. We’ve remedied the and now have a gigantic freezer in our garage all prepped for next summer. I’m ready for you, blackberries! I’m also ready for summer. Please come quickly!

    That being said we still have plenty of last season’s blackberries in our freezer, used mostly for smoothies. But I can’t help but make some simple syrup with them from time to time. Because, you know, cocktails.

    As I write about my trip to Italy we’ve been sipping on classic Aperol Spritzes.

    The classic is usually made with three parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, a splash of club soda, served on the rocks often in a rocks glass or standard white wine glass. I’m obsessed with my bubbly flutes (pictured above) so we used them, and added ice cubes after pouring. Side note, these are pretty darn remarkable to sip on while waiting for your smoked and grilled meats to finish cooking. #themoreyouknow

    In playing around with a few variations I couldn’t help but try it with some of our blackberry simple syrup. The results were not only gorgeous, but delicious and equally refreshing as the original! The syrup balances out some of the bitterness from the Aperol.

    I’d be remiss to say that this would be quite the cocktail for Valentine’s Day this weekend. I mean, that color! So fun.

    Blackberry Aperol Spritz

    A twist on a classic Aperol Spritz inspired by the Pacific Northwest. Blackberry Aperol Spritz Cocktail, made with blackberry simple syrup. 

    For the Blackberry Simple Syrup
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup blackberries
    For the Blackberry Aperol Spritz
    • 3 parts Prosecco
    • 2 parts Aperol
    • 1 part blackberry simple syrup
    • 1 part club soda
    • Ice cubes, for serving
    For the Blackberry Simple Syrup
    1. In a small saucepan, bring the water, sugar, and blackberries to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until the berries burst and the mixture thickens slightly, and you reach your desired consistency. 

    2. Strain the contents into a glass jar through a very fine mesh strainer while gently pressing the fruit to extract as much of that delicious juice as possible. Discard the solids.

    For the Blackberry Aperol Spritz
    1. In a rocks glass or wine glass add the Prosecco, followed by the Aperol, blackberry simple syrup, club soda, and finish by adding a few ice cubes. Garnish with fresh blackberries. 

    Your “parts” can easily be measured in ounces, or eyeball based on size of your glass.

    The Video:

    Coming Soon: A Preview of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, the heart of the Prosecco region.

    In the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing stories and photos of my trip to Conegliano Valdobbiadene, located just north of Venice, in the heart of the Prosecco Superiore DOCG wine region. Stay tuned!

    For more Simple Syrup Recipes, check out this post. 

    For more tasty recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, check out the Recipe Index.

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    Avoid the restaurants this year and dine in. Here are 10 ideas for Valentine’s Dinner you can cook on your Smoker or Grill.

    I used to be one of the many Valentine’s Day haters. You know the ones. Those who harp on the day for being an overly corporate holiday. Hater’s gonna hate.

    I was like that and would be annoyed at Sean for even bringing me flowers, because he, a) spent too much money on them, and b) they’d die quickly, and c) it’s so cheesy and predictable!

    But since having kids I’ve realized that it’s not about the Hallmark-ness of the holiday, or buying lots of chocolate (though there will likely be lots of chocolate consumed in my house), but instead teaching my kids to recognize and appreciate love. You can read this post I wrote a couple years ago about this realization (and yes I am now ok if Sean brings me flowers).

    I also get that kids shouldn’t show their love just one day a year, but be taught to show it everyday (we all should, and we’re all guilty of being terrible examples of this). But we need to start somewhere, right? This is a good day to help them recognize the love in their lives, in all of its forms, and to celebrate it.

    And that’s what we’re going to do in our house. Make the food they love the most, make some cheesy-ass cards for each other, drink our favorite drinks, and indulge in the desserts we love the most (chocolate for me, vanilla for Sean, anything with sugar will please the kids).

    But it’s certain that we won’t be going out to eat this year. One, because Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday, and two, we live a half hour from any decent restaurants, and three, restaurants are crazy busy on V-day (and my kids are impatient at restaurants).

    Instead we will be cooking something fun and festive that night.

    If you’re looking for some inspiration you can cook on your smoker or grill for this heart-shaped holiday, here are our thoughts (and no, none are actually shaped like hearts).

    Whether you’re cooking a romantic dinner for two, or a family dinner for 6, these are some of my favorites.

    Smoked Beef Short Rib Stew

    Remember that one time when I was a vegetarian? This was THE cut of meat that taught me to appreciate and enjoy meat — my first beef short rib. It was life changing. While this Smoked Beef Short Rib Stew may or may not change your life, it will certainly please your palate. Pair this with a Rhone Style red. Find the magic here.

    Maple Chipotle Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon

    This recipe, posted earlier this week, has both the “wow” factor of its presentation, and also the elegance you want at a special dinner. This is what we’re eating this year since one of our kids has become a “pesca-bacon-tarian” (don’t know what that means? Read this post to find out.). Try this with a semi-sweet Riesling or a New World Pinot Noir. Find it here.

    Smoked Salmon Dip

    Speaking of salmon, this dip is sure to impress as an appetizer for your fancy dinner. It’s one of our all time favorite appetizers, and for good reason. Find the salmon goodness here. 

    Smoked Salmon and Dungeness Crab Cakes

    Another elegant starter for your romantic evening and a great reason to splurge on some true Dungeness crab. You guys, these are da bomb! Pair this with your favorite Chardonnay (I recommend one from Oregon! Yassss!). Crab cake love awaits you here.

    Reverse Seared Smoked Rib Eyes

    If there was one dish that would woo my husband over without fail, it’s these Reverse Seared Smoked Rib Eyes. He could eat this every day of the week if his cardiologist would approve (don’t get any ideas, Sean!). Show me the steak love. 

    Grilled Garlic Chardonnay Shrimp

    If you wanted to combine those Rib Eyes from above and do a little Surf ‘n’ Turf action try these easy Grilled Garlic Chardonnay Shrimp. This is another good one for Chardonnay, especially if you use it for the sauce. Doooooo it. 

    Smoked Coq au Vin

    This classic French dish is a close second to winning my heart after the short rib stew. True love for this one! We take a classic dish and bump it up a few dozen notches. I’d stick with a red Burgundy (French Pinot Noir) for this, or go big with a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, from the Rhone Valley. Cook this NOW!

    Red Wine Marinated Smoked Tri Tip

    Considering V-day falls on a weeknight you may need something quick and easy. This Red Wine Marinated Smoked Tri Tip with Chimichurri Sauce is a fantastic option, and is incredibly flavorful. Between you and me I could eat this every day of the week! Make it happen! 

    Smoke Beef Short Ribs with a Red Wine Braise

    Yeah of course I put two short ribs on this list because to me, short ribs = true love. This one skips the stew and makes the short ribs the star of the meal. Vegetarians beware, this could turn you to the dark side. Find out how to turn to the dark side too! 

    Smoked Pot De Crème

    Finish your night with these ridiculously tasty Smoked Pot de Crème. You can even make them in advance the night before and they’ll be ready for you to eat on the day of your dinner. Everyone will love these. The ultimate chocolate dessert for smoked food lovers. You can thank me later. 

    3-Course Valentine’s Day Dinner at Home

    I recently remembered this article I wrote up for Wine4.Me a couple years back showing you how to create a three course salmon dinner at home, including putting together an elegant cheese and charcuterie plate, and short cuts for dessert. Make yo-self a full-on elegant 3- course dinner for two! 


    I’m all about the bubbles for Valentine’s Day.

    And it doesn’t have to be Champagne (though I never resist a glass of Champagne). This year I’m seeking out some DOCG Prosecco. It’s elegant, crisp, and much more affordable than Champagne.

    We’ll have a few more wine recommendations coming up this weekend that would be great for your dinner. Stay tuned!

    Whether you celebrate or not, let us know if you try any of these recipes and feel free to rate them or tag us in your Instagram posts with the hashtag #vindulge. 


    For more tasty recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, check out the Recipe Index.

    Want more? If you liked what you read you can subscribe to Vindulge and have new posts delivered directly to your inbox.

    Or just follow along here:

    The post Valentine’s Day Recipes for your Smoker or Grill appeared first on Vindulge.

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