Thursday, December 4, 2008

Atomic Buffalo Turds (ABTs)

There is much talk about these yummy treats around the BBQ web sphere, and many a variation on this recipe. This is my version. My nickname for them is "Heart Attack" which becomes obvious when you see the ingredients and prep.

1 dozen fresh jalapenos
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
12 Little Smokies Smoked Sausages
12 slices of thick bacon

Feeling any chest pains yet? Yeah, we only eat these on special occasions. Now for the prep:

Note: Gloves are a must when preparing the peppers. Treat these things like nitro-glycerin!

  • Cut the top off each pepper and use a small knife or spoon to clean out the seeds and remove as much of the ribbing as possible from the inside of the pepper. The seeds and ribs are where most of the heat is, so if you like it really warm, leave more of the ribbing and just get rid of the seeds. Keep the tops for later.

  • In a bowl, with the cream cheese at room temperature, mix with the shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

  • Fill each pepper with the cheese mixture. This can be done with a piping bag similar to what you would use for cake frosting or you can do what I do and improvise by filling a quart size zip-lock baggie with the filling and cutting one of the corners. Instant pipe bag!

  • Jam a Little Smokie into the middle so it is surrounded by the cheese filling.

  • Sprinkle the top of the filling with your favorite dry rub or choice of seasonings.

  • Replace the top of the pepper and wrap the whole thing in a slice of bacon.

    Some like to use toothpicks to keep everything together, but I find that if the bacon is long enough this isn't necessary. If you do use toothpicks I recommend the kind that are not dyed as the coloring can run.

  • A variation on the prep is to just cut peppers in half, fill each half with filling, a smoky, and wrap in bacon.

    Put these in your smoker or grill using indirect heat for about an hour at ~250. Everything is essentially ready to eat, the smoker just adds smoky goodness and softens the pepper. The most difficult part of this process is figuring out how to put these on the grill. You can stand them up or just lay them flat on the grate. Either way use a drip pan because they are messy!

    Once you pull these off the grill, it will become plain where they earned their name!

    These are great for keeping guests hunger at bay while waiting for larger cuts of meat to cook. I have found that they are less spicy when still warm from the grill and seem to get warmer when allowed to cool or when refrigerated over night.


    Wednesday, December 3, 2008

    Beerwurst & Onions

    Below is a simple recipe for Bratwurst that, a far as I am concerned, is the only way it should be prepared. Using this method makes the end product very juicy and adds a little hint of smoky flavor.:


    12 Bratwurst
    2 Medium white onions
    1 can Sapporo beer
    Kosher salt
    Cracked pepper
    Extra virgin olive oil


    Set up your grill for indirect cooking. It cannot be overemphasized that cooking bratwurst over direct heat is a bad idea. The high fat content of the sausage, when heated too quickly, will cause the skin to split open. This means delicious juicy goodness ending up in your drip pan and not in the food. Bad. Anyone who has grilled bratwurst on too high a heat knows exactly what I mean. It tastes good, but a sausage all split open and oozing flavor is not good eats.

    Once your rig is up to about 225, in go the brats. You can coat with oil, but I generally do not and I recommend not trying to season them as they have their own great flavor and my experience has been that the seasonings do not dissolve and have a gritty consistency when eaten. I throw on a handful of dry wood chips directly on the hot coals (Brazilian style) for some smoke. Put the lid on and walk away. Don't peek for at least 20 to 30 minutes or you will let the heat out. Patience is a virtue that will pay off here.

    I usually put a small pan directly over the coals adjacent to the meat to get the onions going right away. You can either chop the onion and sauté or cut them in half, coat in oil and a little salt and pepper and put them directly on the grill. I have also seen people wrap them in foil to caramelize. The goal is to cook the onions until they are brown. This process of cooking the sugary onion until it caramelizes brings out it's natural sweetness and is a great compliment to the sausage.

    When Are They Done?

    After about 30 to 45 minutes, the sausage should be done. You can tell because they are not "mushy" and, if the skin has stayed intact, they look like they are about to burst. That is the juicy goodness I mentioned before. If you must, you can verify doneness by sacrificing one with a knife.

    The Final Touch

    Now that you have yummy, juicy, sausage goodness barbecued to perfection and caramelized onions, you could just grab a bun and some mustard and proceed to the eating. But why stop there when you can add one more layer of flavor?

    In a saucepan, add the bratwurst and onions, following with the beer. Bring to a simmer. This is called a "jacuzzi" and it brings beer flavor to the party as well as being a great way to keep the brats warm until service.


    I have eaten bratwurst and onion just by themselves and that is good. My favorite way to eat them is on a soft roll with mustard, jalapeno, and sauerkraut. A 2nd Sapporo, or your beer of choice, is also a good accompaniment.

    Remember, if you don't need one hand to dab the sweat from your forehead, you need more peppers!