BBQ Master Class: 5 Must-Have Tips for the Perfect Outdoor Party

An outdoor barbecue party is your best chance to show everyone your cooking and grilling skills. Never been in charge of the grill before? Never fear! Even if this is your first-ever BBQ party then we got you covered with the 5 best tips on how to be the best barbecue party cook….in the world.

1. Make a Plan

BBQ-ing may look like a lazy affair, but trust us, you will be a more efficient cook if you plan your party entrees ahead of time.

    • If you plan to serve vegetables, peel them and cut them the night before. Soak these in water to preserve freshness.
    • Prepare sauces ahead of time as well. Place these in microwaveable containers so you can serve these fast and hot.
    • Order your meat, poultry or fish ahead of time. Cut and clean these before you store them inside the fridge


2. Perfect your Grilling Techniques

  • Grill large vegetables like corn and potatoes by coating these heavily in butter. Sprinkle with salt and wrap in aluminum foil before you place the on the grill.
  • When grilling chicken, if you want crispy, delicious skin, rub the with butter or oil and lightly season it. The skin will become nice and crispy.
  • Choose steaks with thin strands of fat in between the muscle tissue. These will melt when cooking to make the meat juicier.
  • Avoid browning or blackening of grilled meats by applying tomato-based sauces with sugars only during the final 10 minutes of grilling.
  • Cook your hamburger until it’s well done. There are more bacteria present in ground beef, so cook it completely to kill bacteria. If you are grilling a large burger patty, use a meat thermometer and make sure that the temperature is not less than 160 degrees in the center of the patty.
  • Salt draws away moisture so do not salt to meat before it is cooked to prevent the meat from becoming tough and dry.


3. Marinate Your Meat Well – Use the best vacuum sealer

Marinate meats overnight inside the best vacuum sealer container. A vacuum seal container will keep flavors and moisture in. Marinades do not just flavor meats but also tenderizes them. There are many commercially-made marinades out there but don’t rely on these solely. Use different types of marinades, rubs and seasonings to provide a unique and tempting taste to your grilled food. If you don’t have 24 hours to marinate your meat, soak for at least an hour before cooking.

When cooking frozen meat, do not leave it out of the refrigerator and in room temperature for more than an hour. If you leave uncooked meat on the counter for too long, bacteria can grow and can affect the freshness of meat as well. To thaw frozen meats completely, do it inside the refrigerator.


4. Take Smoking and Grilling to a Whole New Level

Nothing beats the taste and smell of meats cooked in a smoker. And definitely it is not too early to purchase the best pellet smoker 2018. These are available for purchase today.

  • Regardless of what type of grill you use, give your grill plenty of time to preheat. You can use a cooking thermometer to check the temperature of the grill or you can simply use your hand. If you cannot hold your hand over the grill grates for more than 2 seconds then the grill is already ready and hot.
  • If you are using a smoker, light your charcoal with a chimney starter. This is by far the quickest way to get your coals going, plus you won’t have yucky lighter fumes in your smoker and food as well.
  • If cooking with a smoker, reduce the times you open the smoker door. We know how excited you are to check if your meat is cooked but frequently opening the door will affect the temperature and humidity inside the smoker chamber.
  • Only have a regular grill? You can still add smokey flavor to your food by lining charcoal on the bottom of one side of the grilling chamber. Use hickory or mesquite wood chips and place these on the top of the hot coals. Your meat should be on the other side of the grill, or on the side away from the coals. Indirect heat will cook your meat well with a smoky flavor.
  • To ensure that smoky flavor sticks to your food, keep the lid of your grill closed at all times. Take note that this can increase cooking temperatures and can increase cooking time as well, so be on alert at all times.
  • No one wants that nasty fuel taste on food so if you are using lighter fluid, make sure that the fire is completely out before placing your meat on the grill. You can tell that the lighter fluid is completely burned out when the charcoal is mostly gray in color with just a few red embers glowing underneath them.
  • To check if meat is cooked, do not pierce meat with a fork because the delicious juices will escape. This can also make meats drier and blander. Use only a spatula or thongs to flip food; do not use prongs or forks.


5. Experiment with Different Barbecue Sauces

Nooooo! Not the same old barbecue sauce on your meat again! Why not test some new flavors, even sauces that you have never thought would be possible with barbecue? There’s teriyaki, chipotle, hot sauce and more. You can make your own sauces from ingredients like brown sugar, paprika, honey, chopped onions, red peppers, lemon juice and so on.

Another way to add rich flavor to your grilled meats is butter. There are a variety of butters that you can brush over your meats as these cook. Bobby Flay loves to us garlic butter, cilantro butter or balsamic-rosemary butter on grilled foods. We don’t always agree with Bobby Flay, but we do always agree with butter.

Dijon & Herb Rubbed Beef Roast with Cranberry Sauce

Dijon and Herb Rubbed Beef Roast with Cranberry Sauce

Dijon & Herb Rubbed Beef Roast with Cranberry Sauce

It’s time to start thinking about those holiday meal main dishes. You know, the pièce de résistance that makes your guests ooh and ahh and wonder how you pulled it all off. Usually these centerpieces involve some kind of delicious meat, and this recipe from our peeps at the Texas Beef Council is no different.

What is different about this recipe, though, its simplicity. Still very beautiful and impressive, but without that miles-long list of ingredients that lots of holiday recipes mandate. As long as you have a nice piece of beef roast rubbed with a couple easy seasonings, the festive sauce falls into place, then ta-da! Dinner is served. A little bit savory and a little bit sweet, this roast sounds like the perfect thing to bring to your holiday table.

Dijon & Herb Rubbed Beef Roast with Cranberry Sauce

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The Filet Mignon of Thanksgiving Leftovers


I know we all love scrounging through our post-turkey day fridges to figure out how we can quickly use up Thanksgiving leftovers (eggs over stuffing anyone?) But actually Thanksgiving, rather than exhausting me on cooking, often gets me inspired to do more in the kitchen. So I was stoked to come across this wonderful wintry recipe from Chef Kamran Naseem of Manhattan’s Reserve Cut. Chef Naseem’s filet mignon gets a little something extra, courtesy of ingredients a lot of us will have left over in the fridge this week — squash, brussels sprouts, pecans, and of course red wine. Oh, and there’s some pastrami up in here, because yes.

Filet Mignon with Brussel Sprout Medley



2cups Brussel sprout leaves
1T shallot
1T Garlic
1/4 cup squash (diced & sauteed)
2T pecans (toasted)
1T maple syrup
1T Red Wine vinaigrette
1/4 cup pastrami (chopped)
1t chile flake

Directions for the Brussel Sprout Medley:
In a hot pan, add canola oil then the Brussel sprouts. Add shallot and garlic, followed by squash and pecan. Add maple syrup and let reduce. Deglaze with red wine vinegar and then finish with pastrami, chile flake and salt.

Directions for the Filet Mignon:
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt and generous amount of ground black pepper. Add to skillet and cook to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium. Transfer steaks to plate. Tent with foil. Boil 1 cup of garlic cloves until very soft, purée, add ¼ cup olive oil, water to thin.  Then Salt. Spoon over steak.

bbq oven beef brisket

Texas BBQ Beef Brisket… In the Oven!

bbq oven beef brisket


October is a very important month. And I’m not just talking about the month of Halloween, the month of scary movies, or the month when it’s socially acceptable to cook/eat any and all things pumpkin related. No, October is also Texas Wine Month.

And yes, Texas does make wine! Even if you don’t live in Texas or in a place where Texas wines are readily available, as far as I’m concerned, you can still enjoy your favorite glass (or bottle?) of vino with special pleasure this month; any excuse, right?!

The Texas Beef Council shared one of their favorite brisket recipes with us, along with some Texas wine pairings to go with it. This brisket is ultra easy because it can be made in your oven. So no worries if you don’t own a smoker! This is a perfect recipe for your next gameday, just pop that sucker in the oven first thing in the morning, and by the midday football matches you’ll have more delicious, tender red meat than you can shake a stick at. And since the recipe is from the official council that represents all things Texas and beef, you know the recipe is legit.

Curious about what the Texas Beef Council recommends serving with your beautiful brisket? They say…

·         Brennan Vineyards 2014 Texas Tempranillo

·         Duchman Family Winery 2012 Montepulciano

·         Spicewood Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Claret

Hey – I’ve done some wine tasting at Duchman and their reds are generally very good, so I’m in full favor of this list. Don’t have Texas wines where you live? I’m thinking your favorite Tempranillo, Montepulciano, or Cabernet will do the trick! Don’t like wine? First of all, what’s wrong with you, and second of all, you can cheers with a beer, I won’t be offended. (Well, maybe a little bit. Wine is the best.)


Oven Texas BBQ Beef Brisket

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Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

4th of July weekend is upon us! As the most highly anticipated summer cooking holiday of the year (sorry Memorial Day and Labor Day, but you know it’s true…) it’s imperative to have your menu game on point. And I’m not talking just the expected hot dogs and hamburgers. You need some winning sides ready if you’re going to impress at that neighborhood BBQ or block party!

Stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorites appetizers or sides any time of year, because you can make them as heavy or light as you’d like them to be, depending on what you choose to fill them with. Plus, in the summer, you can even cook ’em on the grill! The cow-loving folks at the Texas Beef Council recently reached out to us with an especially inspired idea… next time you’re debating between making burgers or stuffed mushrooms, why not treat yourself to the best of both worlds and stuff a mushroom full of beefy, blue cheesy goodness?


Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

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Texas Beef Council Western Burger

Say Yee Haw to National Burger Month

Texas Beef Council Western Burger

Did you know that May is National Burger Month?! Well, it is. As a human living in Austin, Texas, I eat my fair share of beef, and my Austin born & raised fiance eats a TON of it. It’s safe to say that burgers are his #1 favorite food in the world. So I feel like I’m somewhat qualified, even if it’s through transference, to tell you about good beef and burgers. And yes, if you haven’t been to Texas and had our beef, it’s good. Really, really good. (May I recommend ALC if you’re ever in the neighborhood?)

The lovely people at the Texas Beef Council sent over their latest recipe for celebrating National Burger Month: the Western Burger. This burger keeps it simple… no crazy sauces or deep-fried mischief here, just solid beef with a slight twist… jalapeños right in the patty! Because Texans also like it spicy. Texas Beef Council says, “This Western Burgeris a perfect, guilt-free way to celebrate the month-long holiday and gives a nutritious spin on one of Texans’ summertime staples fit for any backyard gathering.” Works for me! So if you want this bad boy healthy, you can serve him in a lettuce wrap instead of a bun, but follow your heart/stomach.

Texas Beef Council’s Western Burger

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Liberty Kitchen Austin Chef's Salad

Food Porn Champion: The Ultimate Meat Salad

Liberty Kitchen Austin Chef's Salad

Look at that. Would you call the above photo a salad or a giant pile of assorted meats and cheeses? Turns out, you’d be right either way.

This is the FeedTX Chef Salad (menu description: “chilled greens, cheeses, rotisserie meats, bay shrimp salad, hot smoked salmon, egg, avocado, tomato, cucumber”) at Liberty Kitchen, a popular Houston restaurant that recently opened another location in Austin. They feature all sorts of decadent meat and seafood dishes, and even a salad is not really a salad. I was disgustingly full after about half of this bad boy. I mean, “meats”… okay, there’s pork belly, turkey, chicken, bacon, and not to mention a giant hunk of smoked salmon AND shrimp salad. Talk about some protein.

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