GrillJunkie – Addiction to Grilling-What Fires YOU Up?

Blog Page

Grilling Safety Tips: Houston, We Have a Flare-up!

Grill Junkie Staff 2 Comments

Grilling Safety Tips: Dealing With and Preventing Flare-Ups

Grilling Safety Tips: Prevent and Prepare for flare-ups

Grilling Safety Tips: Prevent and Prepare for flare-ups

Houston, we have a Flare-Up. Please advise! The team here at GrillJunkie™ is frequently consulted about Grilling Safety Tips, which inevitably leads to a conversation on how to prevent and deal with flare-ups. If anything, please remember this:

“Do not fear flare-ups! Just respect them.”

The secret of flare-ups is to control them. First of all it’s important that you understand that flare-ups are not as big a problem as you might think, if controlled of course. Contained and quick flare-ups are okay, in fact they’re part of the science and experience of grilling. It’s only when the fire gets out of control that you have a problem. Fortunately, there are several ways to deal with flare-ups, mostly focused on the two essentials; Preparation and Prevention.

It is important to not only plan on a flare-up, but is more pertinent to prepare for them. The first step is to reduce the risk of or causes of a flare-up. One way to do this is by trimming any and all “unnecessary” fat from the foods you grill, but don’t go too crazy, so as to change the ultimate purpose of leaving some fat on your grilled food: taste!

For the sake of flavor, meats should be left with a little fat on them. Leaving a certain amount of fat also prevents meat from drying out while grilling. It is important to note that fat not only comes in the form of meat fat, but can also come from sources such as oils in marinades or sauces. The two keys to avoiding flare–ups when marinading meats is to allowed the mixture to sink in fully and to remove excessive amount of dripping oil when placed on the hot grill. 

Flare-up:  Burn out or uncontrolled?

Flare-up: Burn out or uncontrolled?

Again, herein lies the art of grilling, as you want to strike a balance between flare-up control and fat removal. You cannot, and most importantly, should not take away all the fat. Foods such as chicken with the skin on, or a good thick steak or hamburger patty are going to have fat which significantly add to the flavor of the meal.

However, that fat is going to melt and quite likely catch fire. That’s expected. Of all the grilling safety tips we’ve dispensed one of the most important with regards to fire safety is to always be prepared for large and uncontrolled grease fires and to have a flare-up control plan.

Unless you are grilling enough food to cover the entire cooking surface of your grill, which is highly discouraged, you need to be ever-ready to move food out of the area of the flare-up, to another and safer part of the grill grate. This will provide you with the ability to keep foods out of the way of a danger area, increasing the safety of your cooking and of course preventing you from burning your much anticipated meal, the grill, your house and possibly the neighborhood. Your once cherished status of the neighborhood Master of the Grill will literally go up in smoke!

Grilling Safety Tips: Do not overcrowd AND use those upper racks

Grilling Safety Tips: Do not overcrowd AND use those upper racks

Once you have cleared the flare-up area of food let the area burn the fat or grease away. You will find that a small amount of fat exposed to flame and intense heat will burn away quickly. A tip would be to use upper warming racks, if available, to hold food temporarily while the flare-ups are dealt with.

The Grilling Safety Tips Golden Rule:

“If you can’t prevent it, be prepared to control it”.

Grilling Safety Tips: Should We Use a Spray Bottle?

What about a keeping a water-bottle close at hand? A water filled spray bottle is a flare-up tool of last resort. Many so called “experts” keep a spray bottle of water close at hand to put out flare-ups the instant they happen. There are several reasons you don’t want to use a spray bottle, and we learned this long ago in science class. 

Water and oil, or burning grease do not mix and you don’t put water on a grease fire. That’s rule number one. Secondly while the water may temporarily reduce or even put out the fire it does not rid us of the catalyst, the grease in the grill. 

Safety is Job #1 when grilling

Safety is Job #1 when grilling

So the instant that the existing grease heats up again the flare-up will return. And finally, when you spray a grease fire with water, the grease does something very dangerous and undesirable, it explodes. The explosion causes splatter over your food, and, let’s face it, partially burned grease doesn’t taste very good at all. 

If you are faced with an uncontrollable flare-up, and you want to avoid spoiling the food with a grease splatter, move the food out of the way, off the grill to a plate, turn off the burners and close the lid to starve the flame of oxygen and put it out. From here, you are back in control and can start cooking again.

A Clean Grill is Your Best Defense

Keep a Clean Grill: Top among Grilling Safety Tips

Keep a Clean Grill: Top among Grilling Safety Tips

A clean grill really does produce fewer flare-ups. Once you’ve experienced that big flare-up it’s a sign from the grilling gods that it is time to clean out your grill. A good place to start is to fire up the grill and let it heat up good and hot in order to burn away as much grease as you can from the grates and sides.

Then after it has thoroughly cooled, get in there and clean out all the burnt grease and food from the bottom of your grill. Don’t forget to clean out that grease trap as well, which is usually located underneath and on the outside of the lower heating chamber. Be prepared for a greasy mess if you haven’t attended to it in a while. All in all, remember the two Grilling Safety Tips related to flare-ups: Preparation and Prevention.

What are your thoughts? What Fires You Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!

Grilling Product Review: Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Grilling Pellets

Grill Junkie Staff 4 Comments

Jack Daniel’s Grilling Pellets: Sinatra Worthy or Dud?

On a consistent basis the team here at GrillJunkie™ sets time aside to communicate our formal opinion on either a Grilling, BBQ or Burger related product or event such as a BBQ Pitmaster contest, a chili cook-off or a tailgating event. As you certainly can imagine, and most likely have experienced yourself, these products and events run the gamut from Gotta Have It!CoolUsefulUtilitarianRidiculous and the, well, Just Plain Asinine!

Today’s candidate is:

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Grilling Pellets

Jack Daniels Tenn Whiskey Smoke Pellets

The GrillJunkie™ Grilling Product Review (GPR) Scale

In addition to a formal written review, we also assign a visual indication of our opinion to every product, as depicted through our Grilling Product Review (GPR) scale:

GrillJunkie Grilling Product Review GPR Firepot key with logo

First Up: A Bit of Grilling Pellet History

What exactly are grilling pellets? What’s the big deal? Even if you just casually know enough about grilling and BBQ to be moderately dangerous, chances are you’ve heard of the growing popularity of using pellets for grilling, BBQ and smoking.

The Trager Lil Texas Elite Pellet Grill

The Trager Lil Texas Elite Wood Pellet Grill

Here’s a brief bit of history and background: Back in 1985 Joe Traeger, fortunately, was less focused on cheezy metal bands, jean jackets and big hair and focused his attention on starting up Traeger Grills. From his blood, sweat and tears came the introduction of the first pellet grill to the world. Since then the Traeger family has continued to make pellet grills and smokers and have attracted what would certainly be categorized as a “cult following.”

This success and insatiable demand lead to a wide range of pellet grills and smokers on the market. The unique flavor that is created by the use of a pellet grill combined with their versatility have made pellet grills a favorite among backyard cooking zealots. The main appeal of pellet grills is their versatility of being fully capable of grilling, roasting, barbecuing and smoking.

The Star Fuel of the Show: Wood Grilling Pellets

Okay, so we’ve learned about the wood pellet grills, what about their fuel source? A wood pellet in essence, is a small, 1/4″ diameter piece of natural hardwood that looks like a long pill, sometimes like a small piece of black licorice. When pellets are made, all of the air within the cellular structure of the wood is evacuated, thus concentrating the wood into a very dense form, much denser than the natural tree.

As compared to other wood flavor enhancers, pellets will yield a more intense smoke morewood grilling pellets quickly which seals the food, locking in natural moisture and adding smoke flavor exactly when it’s needed. Due to their small size, wood pellets burn cleanly and quickly to a fine ash. Wood pellets burn at about 8,500 BTUs per pound and are marketed in a wide variety of “flavors” ranging from traditional BBQ and smoking woods such as hickory and oak to cherry, apple or mesquite.

The pellets in a normal pellet grill are fed from a storage hopper to a burning box at a controlled rate. This rate is adjustable based on whether a high temperature for grilling or a low temperature for smoking is desired. Because of the automated feed of the wood pellets, you can basically turn the grill on, give it 10 to 15 minutes to heat up, and be ready to grill in almost no time. This makes it as convenient as a gas grill but with the added flavor of hardwood cooking.

The Sinatra Test: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Grilling Pellets

Before we proceed to the formal review, it is important to note that our reviews follow an organized and comprehensive structure which includes: the Problem that needs to be solved or addressed, the product’s Solution to that problem, followed by the Good, the Bad and the infrequent Ugly elements of the product or service. Finally we provide a Verdict along with an official GrillJunkie™ GPR (Grilling Product Rating).

So let’s dig in to the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Grilling Pellets review.

Official Product Review and GPR

  •  Problem – The way we view it, the wood grilling pellet market has quickly become infiltrated with poorly made, mass produced wood pellets with no competitive differentiation, predictable flavor categories and utilitarian packaging. The demand for an expanded flavor spectrum packaged in an attention grabbing and informative package is high and the opportunity is ripe for the taking.
  • Product’s Solution Pitch – The product addresses the problem by developing, marketing and distributing a lineup of grilling accessories and fuel sources among which is specifically targeted towards the wood grilling pellet consumer. Specifically, the product pitch ad copy reads:

 “Jack Daniel’s smoking pellets are made from the actual mellowing charcoal from the distillery, pulverized and mixed with sawdust then pelletized. The pellets give a STRONG, sweet smoke flavor and an aromatic tang to a variety of grilled meats including beef, pork, poultry and game.”

  • The Good – The product has 2 positive attributes. First, the product directly addresses the issue of flavor choice limitations. By infusing the distinctive flavor and aroma of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, the product provides the consumer with an expanded choice beyond the traditional hardwood and fruitwood offerings. The GrillJunkie™ team used the grilling pellets on a quickly seared steak and slowly BBQ’d and smoked brisket, ribs and venison and found that the product is easy to use and produces a great amount of smoke that permeates the meat, detectable in both aroma and taste. Jack Daniel’s Smoking Pellets are made from the used mellowing charcoal from the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. This charcoal is soaked in whiskey for weeks before exchanging for a fresh batch of charcoal. The charcoal is mixed with oak and processed into wood pellets for BBQ smoking.
    Secondly, the product is attractively packaged with the eye-grabbing brand attention of a well known American whiskey brand. 
  • Here are a few statistics that our Product Review Team recorded:
    • Contents- Mellowed charcoal and natural oak hardwood saturated with Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
    • Burn Rate – 1/2 pound per hour @175 degrees F & 2.3 pounds per hour @ 450 degrees F
    • Ash Residual – 1/2 cup of ash per 10 pound bag
    • Optimal Applications – Best on beef, pork, poultry and game

Jack Daniels Tenn Whiskey Smoke Pellets

  • The Bad – There are 2 important negative attributes to this product. The first is easily forgiven, the second not so easily ignored. First, you will have to overcome the urge to draw out your shot or drinking glass as the distinctive Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey aroma may temporarily seduce you into overlooking its unfamiliar form and tape a sip.

Secondly, this product will give the wood pellet “purist” a bit of outdoor grilling agita due to the fact that they are not made purely from hardwood sawdust. They are in fact made from, if you didn’t already catch this from their product pitch, the actual mellowing charcoal from the distillery, pulverized and mixed with hardwood oak sawdust then pelletized.

  • The Ugly – We did not believe that this variable applied to this product. This variable is usually mentioned for the strange, extremely unique or outright asinine product. An example of strange would be our Product Review of McPhee’s Bacon Body Wash wherein, besides the obvious we took a shot at their package design. Enough said, let’s move on.
  • Verdict – We give the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Grilling Pellets 4 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots, which equates to a Hot! product but not quite Searing!! This product addresses and solves the problem for which it was designed. The product at its basic level (grilling pellets) is not necessarily unique as the grilling pellet market is maturing, however because of the strength of the Jack Daniel’s brand awareness, the product immediately draws attention and delivers, albeit with a non-purist manufacturing twist. We found that this product infused a strong but not overwhelming aromatic tang and smokiness to a variety of grilled meats including beef, pork, poultry and game while maintaining slightly better than average burn rate and low ash residual.
  • GrillJunkie GPR Four FirePot rating

Sinatra Worthy? At the end of the day, we believe that the folks at Jack Daniels should be proud of this product. By bridge-branding over into the grilling and BBQ realm, they prove that they still understand the demographics of their fan base. The true test, however would be what the great Frank Sinatra would think if he owned a pellet grill and was aware of Jack Daniel’s continuing contribution:

“Basically, I’m for anything that gets you through the night – be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.”

Frank Sinatra

Next Review:  Broil King® Monarch 40™Broil King Monarch 40 Product Review GrillJunkie

What are your thoughts? What Fires You Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!

Shut that Oven Off! Grilled Turkey Recipes for Thanksgiving

Grill Junkie Staff 0 Comments

The Best Among our Grilled Turkey Recipes

Grilled Turkey Recipes! We don't need no stinkin' ovens!

Grilled Turkey Recipes! We don’t need no stinkin’ ovens!

Purists beware. You may not like what you are about to read when it comes to the traditional Thanksgiving Turkey. It is the GrillJunkie team’s belief that while oven roasting a turkey gets it cooked, grilling that bird results in a turkey that is cooked with immense flavor. Being “turkey experimental non-purists”,  we also recommend smoking and frying your bird as alternatives but that’s a blog for another day.

Turkey is significantly more flavorful if grilled. We encourage you to try this flavorful method this holiday season. The key ingredient is to brine your bird first. Brining gives extra moisture to the turkey so it won’t dry out during cooking whether you oven-bake, grill, smoke, or deep fry your bird. Specifically defined, Brining is:

a salt marinade which causes the meat tissues to absorb water and flavorings by breaking down the proteins. This is why brining is a popular method of preparing a Thanksgiving turkey because any moisture loss while roasting still produces a juicy and flavorful turkey.

To properly brine a turkey you need to start the night before you plan to cook and serve your meal. You will need at least 10 to 12 hours set aside, a large enough container to hold your turkey and enough brine to cover your precious bird. Also, don’t forget salt, water, seasonings, and enough room for refrigeration. A large stock pot, large oven roaster, or a 5-8 gallon very clean plastic bucket would make perfect containers. The key to determining the container size is determined by allowing yourself enough room to turn the turkey, so it should be big.

Now on to the fun part. The turkey must be cleaned out and completely thawed, if frozen (although we always recommend a fresh bird). It is important to note that the turkey should not be a self-basting or Kosher turkey. Self-basting and Kosher turkeys have a salty stock added that will make the turkey too salty.

Making the Brine

A great brine is key to a great Grilled Turkey Recipe.

A great brine is essential to a great Grilled Turkey Recipe.

To make the brine, use a ratio of 1 cup of iodine-free salt to 1 gallon of very clean, very fresh, chlorine free water. You will need more than 1 gallon of water but that’s the ratio to aim for. Ensure that the salt is completely dissolved before adding the seasonings you choose, making sure not to add anything that contains extra salt. Brines can be spicy/hot with peppers and cayenne, savory with herbs and garlic, or sweet with molasses, honey and brown sugar. Whatever your taste preference, you can find a large number of brine recipes out there. We recommend visiting the site of Derrick Riches for some great choices.

Carefully place the turkey in a container and pour in enough brine to completely cover the turkey with a few inches covering the top of the turkey. It is important to not have any part of the turkey above the surface of the brine. Next, place the container, turkey, brine and all in the refrigerator. The turkey should sit in the brine for at least 10 hours but not more than 24! Brining for too long will destroy the flavor. If you are using a smaller than 10 pound turkey, cut down on the brining time or reduce the amount of salt in the brine.

When you are ready to start cooking, remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it off in the sink with cold water until all traces of salt are off the surface. Discard the brine and cook your turkey per your choice of cooking methods. Again, this is where we may lose the purists as we highly recommend grilling your turkey! Grilling a turkey is not sacrilege or verboten. Many early Americans did not have stainless steel indoor ovens and leveraged many of the grilled turkey recipes and methods they learned from their native American friends.

Grilled Turkey Recipes – The Basics:

There are many factors that can influence how your turkey is going to turn out, so paying attention to the basics is very important. First of all, since you will be grilling indirectly with a low fire the weather plays a significant role, especially in late Autumn and Winter. Although a cold temperature plays a role, the most important weather condition to watch out for is wind. Wind robs heat from outdoor cooking appliances, and due to its very nature comes and goes in wisps as opposed to a steady temperature, so watch your grill temperature closely.

Gas or Charcoal: What Fires You Up?Also, the choice between the use of charcoal or gas makes a big difference. As a rule of thumb, gas will be easier due to time of year. All in all, depending on what you own, or what your Grilling Method preference is, be ready for the variables.

To begin, you will need to create an indirect fire that will hold a steady temperature in the 300° to 350° F. range. This is where the power of a gas grill comes into play. If the weather isn’t going to cooperate we strongly recommend gas, simply due to the fact that you can control the temperature much easier.

A Meat Thermometer is essential Grilling a Turkey safely.

A Meat Thermometer is essential Grilling a Turkey safely!

Ingredients and Equipment:

  • First you will need a fresh or completely thawed turkey, and it must be brined as we discussed previously. We recommend a 12 pound bird and to stay away from anything over 15 pounds as the larger bird may burn on the outside before the inside can get cooked.
  • 1 lb. – 2 lb. of thickly sliced, center cut bacon. The bacon can be hickory smoked or plain according to your preference. (The bacon will be placed on top of the turkey in an intertwined basket weave).
  • We also recommend a V-shaped roasting rack to support the turkey and keep the turkey from moving around too much. This rack should be sturdy because it won’t have a solid surface upon which to sit.
  • We also suggest an oven thermometer. This important tool will help monitor the grill temperature when you open the grill.
  • You may also want a smoke source. Get some wood chips for the gas grill or chunks for the charcoal grill. Try a fruit wood like cherry or apple, or use oak or hickory.

    There are many wood smoke chip choices out there.

    There are many wood smoke chip choices out there. From the traditional mesquite or hickory to those infused with “extra” flavor.

  • Also, you need a good meat thermometer. A meat thermometer is different than a grill thermometer. A meat thermometer is inserted into the meat source to check the internal temperature whereas a grill thermometer indicates the heat of the grill or smoker.
  • Most importantly you will need plenty of fuel. If you are using a gas grill you will surely need an extra, full tank on hand. If you are using charcoal, make sure you have plenty on hand and that you have a way of lighting additional coals for the fire outside of the grill. A charcoal chimney starter will help here and is a must if you use charcoal.
  • It is important to have something to catch the drippings from the cooking turkey. You can use the drippings for making a sauce and the prevention of the drippings will help save your patio or driveway from unwanted stains. We recommend a shallow roasting pan to catch the drippings.
  • You will also need time. Since you will be grilling your turkey at about the same temperature you would in an oven you will need about the same amount of time to get your turkey done. Remember that grilling isn’t as exact as oven roasting so times will vary. Make sure you can adjust for that.

    Timing is important when pulling out your favorite Grilled Turkey Recipes!

    Timing is important when pulling out your favorite Grilled Turkey Recipes!

Grilling a Turkey – Step by Step:

Cleaning the turkey is step one.

Grilling a Turkey? – Cleaning is Priority One.

Step 1: Clean and Prepare Your Bird! – Prepare the turkey. This means removing everything from the body cavity, taking out any pop-up plastic timer devices and giving it a good wash in cold water. Pat dry. Do not bother with tying up or “trussing” the bird. Trussing will only slow down the cooking of the thighs which you want to actually cook more than the rest of the bird.

Step 2: Season, or Brine the Bird! Season or brine the turkey as desired. See the brining section above. Remember if you do use a brine, be sure to rinse off any excess from the bird before you grill it.

Step 3: Baconize Your Bird!: Intertwine the thick cut bacon strips on top of the bird, or you can simply lay the strips across side by side. (see the picture at the beginning of the blog post) The intertwining not only looks good, it also keeps the bacon from falling off the bird. You will have to keep an eye on the bacon as it cooks on the bird. It most cases, its own fat content and the moisture of the brine within the bird will keep it from over-crisping and burning. If it does, simply remove the strips and add more along the way. If desired, you can make an extra intertwined bacon blanket to have on hand in order to quickly place on the bird if/when needed.

Step 4: Prepare Your Grill! When the time comes, prepare the grill. Remember that you will be grilling a large bird indirectly, using the indirect heating method (keeping the turkey away from being directly over the hot flame or coals). It is a good idea to keep the turkey out of the grill before you light and pre-heat it to see about spacing and heating. This is especially important if you are using charcoal. With charcoal you will want to make sure that you build the fire up in the right place so as not to have the hot coals directly underneath the bird. If the bird is too close then one side could cook too fast.

You will want a drip pan under the turkey to prevent flare-ups, to catch and save the drippings, and to prevent drippings from staining those expensive patio bricks or your driveway. Be sure to add water to this pan periodically to maintain a moist environment in the grill and to keep the drippings from burning away. You can make great gravy from the drippings!!

Step 5: Gas or Charcoal?! If you are set up for indirect grilling, using your rotisserie will be pretty easy. You just need to keep a tight eye on your bird to ensure that the skin isn’t burning and that heat is getting into the bird. If you are not using a rotisserie and you are on a gas grill set the turkey, breast side down on a well oiled grate or v-shaped roasting rack. If your grill allows you to turn the heat on and/or off on either side with multiple burner controls on the opposite side of where you place the turkey then you will have an even heating area and you will only need to worry about turning the turkey in about an hour.

Using Lump Hardwood Charcoal: a superior alternative to stinky charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid!

If you are using a charcoal grill you want the coals in either a ring around the underneath of the turkey or banked on either side of it. You want even heating so one side doesn’t cook faster than the other. Regardless of the grill being gas or charcoal, try to keep the turkey away from the very edges of the cooking surface so that heat can flow around it.

Step 6: Set Your Temperature! You are shooting for cooking temperature of around 325° F. If you have an oven thermometer in the grill, set it close to the bird because this is the area you are most concerned with. If you are using a gas grill make the necessary adjustments to the control valves to hit your target temperature. If you are using charcoal you will want to keep a close eye on the temperature to keep it in the right range. Add additional burning coals as necessary.

Step 7: Turn Your Bird! Depending on the set up or arrangement of your grill you will need to turn or flip the bird during the cooking time. If you have a dual burner gas grill you will need to rotate the bird after about 30 minutes, flip and rotate 30 minutes after that and rotate after another 30 minutes. This keeps the hottest part of the grill from burning one part of the bird. During these rotations is an ideal time to replace the bacon strips if necessary. You will need to continue this rotation until the turkey is done.

If you are set up to have heat all around the turkey or on two sides of it then you will need to rotate the turkey after about an hour. Of course this really depends on how fast the turkey’s skin is cooking. You don’t want the outside to cook too much faster than the inside. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature. If the skin is getting too browned before the inside starts warming up, your cooking temperature is too high.

Step 8: Check Your Bird’s Temp! After a about 2 hours you want to start testing the internal temperature of your grilled bird!. Your target temperature is 165° F. even at the coldest part of the turkey since you need every little morsel of meat at or above this temperature. Be sure to test in several places, but be patient and wait for the temperature to record properly, so don’t start poking your bird full of holes. Keep the thermometer probe away from direct bone contact as the bones heat quicker than meat and will give you a false reading. As a rule of thumb, the internal temperature of a bird should only rise about 10° every 15 to 20 minutes from start to finish using the grill temperature of 325° F.

Step 9: Remove and Rest Your Bird! Remove the turkey from the grill and let it rest for about 15 to 30 minutes before carving. The resting period allows the juices to flow back into the meat and creates the perfect texture for carving and eating.

Step 10: Carve and Serve! Carve your bird. You will notice the second you start to carve your turkey that the brining has helped it retain moisture. The first bite will sell you on brining and grilling turkeys forever, and after you’ve tried this you will want to brine all your poultry. Serve, and eat!

Step 11: Enjoy your Friends and Family! – Celebrate our American heritage, cherish what has been given to us and sacrificed for, and the freedom we have to celebrate our healthy addiction to grilling with our friends and family!


What are your thoughts? What Fires You Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!

Veterans Day: A Grilled Burger Salute to All Veterans

Grill Junkie Staff 0 Comments

Veterans Day: A Full-Flagged Grilled Burger Salute to All Veterans

In honor of all American Veterans on this special Veterans Day, the team here at GrillJunkie wishes to honor all who have served our country with their bodies, minds and souls. Thank you for your bravery, strength and courage in the unending battle to preserve and expand freedom.

In honor of all veterans on this Veterans Day, we carefully place and dedicate this Grilled American Burger in honor of you. Because of you we are allowed to celebrate our freedom, pursue our dreams and passions, help and feed our brothers and sisters without regulation, consequence or persecution.

Our Full-Flagged Burger Salute On Veterans Day

A Full-Flagged Burger Salute to all Veterans on Veterans Day

A Full-Flagged Burger Salute to all Veterans on Veterans Day

A Few of this Year’s Veterans Day Events Around the Country

Across the nation, Americans are commemorating Veterans Day with parades, wreath-laying ceremonies, monument dedications and other events.


  • The U.S. military’s first female four-star general will be a grand marshal at New York City’s Veterans Day Parade.
  • Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody retired last year after a 37-year Army career.NYCSOL
  • Organizers of the parade up Fifth Avenue have renamed it America’s Parade. The commemoration will include a wreath-laying ceremony at the Eternal Light Monument in Madison Square Park.


  • The District of Columbia will honor two of the original Tuskegee Airmen with the Congressional Gold Medal for Veterans Day.
  • Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton will lay a wreath at the African American Civil War Memorial. A commemoration will follow for Wash DCtwo Tuskegee Airmen who are D.C. residents at the African American Civil War Museum.
  • The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African-American pilots in World War II.


  • President Barack Obama plans the annual wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery and will deliver remarks.
  • Obama said in his Veterans Day proclamation that the country’s obligations to those who have served “endure long after the battle ends.” He said their courage, self-sacrifice and devotion represent the American character at its best and he encouraged everyone to
    A Salute to All Veterans on Veterans Day

    A Salute to All Veterans on Veterans Day

    honor every service member who has ever worn the country’s uniforms.


  • A retired soldier who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war is dedicating a wall commemorating Vietnam veterans.
  • Col. Lee Ellis is speaking Monday at the dedication of the Vietnam Memorial Wall at Enid’s Woodring Regional Airport. Ellis was a former Vietnam prisoner of war with Arizona Sen. John McCain.
  • The wall is a smaller replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

    Oklahoma WALL Veterans Day

    Oklahoma WALL Veterans Day

  • The dedication ceremony will include a 21-gun salute by the Silver Talon Honor Guard from Vance Air Force Base and a flyover of Vietnam-era aircraft.

May our all-mighty God bless you all!

Grilled Steak Chili Recipes with Dark Chocolate and Java

Grilled Steak Chili Recipes with Coffee and Dark Chili Chocolate

The cool air of Fall calls for a bowl of warm chili.

The cool air of Fall calls for a bowl of warm chili.

As we are still enjoying the remaining yields of harvest time, the cooler air of November makes the GrillJunkie dream of comfort foods and memorable times with friends and family. As food lovers we were in our glory during October due to the fact that the month has the honor of being National Chili month, and we could work on perfecting our Grilled Steak Chili recipes.

OK, the month is over but our desire to make and consume some deliciously warm chili will certainly last deep into the coming months! There’s nothing quite like the aroma, texture and taste of a great bowl of hearty and soul warming chili!

A bit of history. Chili is believed to have originated in Mexico and literally translates to “chili pepper” in Spanish. However, it didn’t take very long at all long for the United States to adapt this versatile and irresistible new dish. American settlers combined dried beef, suet, dried peppers, and salt and then boiled it in pots along the trail.

Americans fell for chili fast and have been hooked ever since.

Americans fell for chili fast and have been hooked ever since.

Chili quickly gained popularity in the United States and restaurants began branding their unique blends of meat, spices and herbs as their own “secret recipe.” This is what makes chili so unique. Chili’s inherent quality of individual customization is what makes it wildly popular for food competitions, festivals and enjoyment at home.

While there are thousands of variations, one of our favorite chili recipes includes hearty grilled steak, spicy jalapeños, or chipotle and two extra special ingredients…coffee and dark chili chocolate. Chocolate gives the chili additional depth of flavor and the added chili within the chocolate introduces a indescribable earthy overtone, while coffee is the perfect ingredient to round out the dish by adding a hint of complementary bitterness. In fact the bitterness of coffee will help bring out the sweetness of the meat. Now, lets dig into the results of our tinkering with and perfecting our Grilled Steak Chili recipes.

We encourage you to read this great article entitled 31 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Steak“. We believe it will fire you up!

The Result of Our Grilled Steak Chili Recipes “R&D”


  • 1 1/2 lb. sirloin steak, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Vidalia or sweet white onion, diced

    Grilled sirloin steak adds depth to chili and provides more texture than ground beef.

    Grilled sirloin steak adds depth to chili and provides more texture than ground beef.

  • 2 jalapeños minced (or for a smokier flavor, you can substitute with chipotle peppers….whatever fires you up!)
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cans (15 oz or 200 mg each) crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of beer, pilsner or lager
  • 2 Tbsp. chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder (if available, otherwise use an additional teaspoon red chile powder)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar or lime juice
  • 3 cups of  cooked kidney beans or other beans of your choice (canned beans work just fine)
Dark Chocolate with chili introduces depth of flavor to grilled steak chili.

Dark Chocolate with chili introduces depth of flavor to grilled steak chili.

  • 2 oz. (55mg) dark chocolate with chili (we prefer Lindt Excellence Chili Dark Chocolate Bar
  • 1/2 cup coffee (traditional dark roast or house blend, avoid flavored coffees)
  • Grated cheese of your choice (we prefer sharp cheddar)
  • Fresh sour cream (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground peppercorns


  1. Salt and pepper the 3/4″ cubes of steak. Bring a grill or heavy pan to high heat, oil the
    A clean grill ensures properly grilled and better tasting meats.

    A clean grill ensures properly grilled and better tasting meats.

    grill grates or pot with cooking oil and then quickly sear the sirloin meat approximately 4-5 minutes, making sure to give it time to get some good caramelized color.

  2. If grilling the steak, remove from the grill and transfer the grilled meat into a large pot. If you chose to cook the steak in a pot, move the steak to one side of the pan and sauté the onions and jalapeños (or chipotle) for 1-2 minutes, followed by garlic. Be sure not to burn the garlic.
  3. De-glaze the pan with the wine and let it cook down for about a minute, then mix in your tomatoes, beans and the two chili powders. Sprinkle in the basil, cumin, paprika and brown sugar.
  4. Add the beer at this point, enough to make the mix soupy and cover most of the
    Allow the chili to simmer, break down the steak fibers and evolve into a richly flavored masterpiece.

    Allow the chili to simmer, break down the steak fibers and evolve into a richly flavored masterpiece.

    ingredients. Add the cider vinegar or lime juice. If there is not enough liquid covering everything at this point, add some fresh, clean water. Do not add more beer.

  5. Simmer for at least two hours. This gives the steak a chance to break down and evolve into scrumptious, melt-in-your-mouth pieces. Sample the meat as you get near the two hour mark to check for tenderness.
  6. When the meat is tender, add the coffee, chocolate, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors, then serve.
  7. Top individual servings with grated cheddar and sour cream if desired.
  8. Now ladle yourself a big bowl, admire the creamy beans, robust chunks of steak and deep red concoction you’ve just created. Notice the depth of intense and elegant flavors, and lingering tastes that the coffee and dark chili chocolate add to this dish.
  9. Last step is to enjoy your creation and dream of your own versions of some grilled steak chili recipes.

More Grilled Steak Chili Recipes on the Horizon?

Finally, a warm, richly textured bowl of chili with java and dark chocolate depth and overtones.

Finally, a warm, richly textured bowl of chili with java and dark chocolate depth and overtones.

When we’re done enjoying our delicious creation and wake from our naps, we’re going to step back out onto the patio and work on even more Grilled Steak Chili recipes. Stay tuned.

What are your thoughts? What Fires You Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!