Lifestyle

Crostini & Olive Oil Herb Dip

Our Crostini & Olive Oil Herb Dip is a perfect way to start off just about any meal. The simple, fresh ingredients combine into an easy to prepare, flavorful appetizer or side dish. These crostini also look and taste great, so they are a perfect compliment to any charcuterie or grazing board. If you are looking for inspiration, check out our Valentine’s Day No-Cook Charcuterie Board.

Crispy, Crunchy Crostini & Olive Oil Herb Dip

Preparing the Crostini

Because it all starts with a baguette or similar sized bread, making a crostini is quite easy. Pick up a thin baguette at your local grocery store. Simply use a bread knife to cut the baguette into thin slices. Our crowd likes them cut at 1/2″ thick, but find what works for you. As long as the bread holds up to dipping, there is no such thing as too thin. Place the baguette slices on a cooking sheet or in an oven crisper.

If you will indulge me for a moment, I need to get a shameless plug in for my oven crisper. These things are life-changing. I am not exaggerating, not even a little bit. They make reheating food a snap. And if you are like me and love crispy, crunchy tater-tots, you absolutely need one of these in your kitchen.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake the crostini for 5 minutes. Flip the baguette pieces over and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until they are slightly browned. Cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of your bread. Also, if you like your bread a bit on the darker side, you may want to leave your crostini in a bit longer to bring out those charred flavors.

It is worth mentioning, that not everyone will want their bread toasted. This dish still tastes great when served with just the baguette slices. If you prefer your breads soft, or simply don’t have the time or energy, consider skipping the crostini and making this a no-cook night!

Preparing the Olive Oil Herb Dip

This herb dip is super simple and contains a great blend of aromatic spices. Because it calls for ingredients that are probably already in your cabinets, it is a perfect choice for busy weeknights.

Ingredients

  • Dried Rosemary – 1 TSP
  • Crushed Red Pepper – 1 TSP
  • Dried Basil – 1 TSP
  • Ground Black Pepper – 1 TSP
  • Dried Oregano – 1 TSP
  • Granulated Garlic – 1 TSP
  • Dried Parsley – 1 TSP
  • Minced Garlic – 1 TSP
  • Kosher Salt – 1 TSP
  • 1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar

Instructions

Presentation

You may have noticed that we chose to serve our Crostini & Olive Oil Herb Dip on a lovely Birch board with turquoise epoxy inlay. While we don’t serve everything we make on a charcuterie board, we certainly think it adds a touch of class to any event. We have boards for all occasions and tastes in our Etsy shop. We also have a selection of end-grain and edge-grain chopping blocks available as well. You can click the E in the sidebar, header, or footer of this page to go directly to our Etsy shop, or you can click here to see our selection of boards and blocks on the site.

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Lifestyle

Simple Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Fresh Strawberries and delicious chocolate make such a great couple! This tasty and simple dessert is a staple in our house because they are so easy to make, and we can customize them to match everyone’s preferences – even weirdos who don’t like chocolate. I still can’t get over the fact that Andy doesn’t like chocolate. How?!?! Anyways, I hope you enjoy our Simple Chocolate Covered Strawberries recipe. And if you are looking for more ideas for Valentine’s Day or any intimate affair, check out our Valentine’s Day No-Cook Charcuterie Board for more inspiration.

Simple Chocolate Dipped Strawberries on Walnut Board with Roses
Simple Chocolate Dipped Strawberries on Walnut Board with Roses

Double Boiler

Do you need a double boiler? The short answer is no. You can stack two pots together, or use a metal bowl if you want. Just be careful not to spill hot water or melted chocolate all over the place. A double boiler does make all of this significantly more convenient. It is also safer and easier. And who knows, maybe you will find other uses for your double boiler, like making candles, or melting home-made caramel.

Drizzle Spoons

Drizzle spoons are the coolest thing we have added to our kitchen arsenal in quite some time. They make decorating the strawberries an absolute breeze. We have found many other creative uses for them , such as adding an artistic flair to dips and dishes by drizzling on ingredients that create flavor or color contrasts. That said, you don’t need drizzle spoons. regular spoons, forks, or whatever you have handy will work to get lines of yummy chocolate on your strawberries.

Chocolate Types

There are so many choices when it comes to chocolate. We chose to keep things simple for this recipe, but feel free to get what you like. Regardless of what type of chocolate you choose, try to stick to chips or mini-chips. Larger chunks of chocolate can provide a bit of a challenge to melt fully.

White Chocolate Chips

Milk Chocolate Chips

Dark Chocolate Chips

Instructions

So, we have all of our ingredients ready to cook. We also have our pots, pans, and drizzle pens ready to go, so let’s start cooking!!

  • Fill 3 cooking pots 1/2 way with water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. It is important to maintain a low simmer.
  • Fill each double boiler 1/2 way with white, milk, and dark chocolate chips.
  • Place double boilers on top of simmering pots.
  • Stir chocolate with rubber spatula until it is silky smooth. Continue to stir periodically through next steps to avoid burning.
  • Hold strawberries by the stem and dip into chocolate. Set on plate or tray to cool. Move to fridge to set up.
  • Continue to stir chocolate in double boilers.
  • Once strawberries have cooled, use drizzle pen to create contrasting crisscross patterns across the surface of the chocolate.
  • Place strawberries in fridge until ready to enjoy!
Simple Chocolate Dipped Strawberries on Walnut Board with Roses

Presentation

You may have noticed that we chose to serve our Chocolate Covered Strawberries on a lovely, dark walnut board. While we don’t serve everything we make on a charcuterie board, we certainly think it adds a touch of class. We have boards for all occasions and tastes in our Etsy shop. We also have a selection of end-grain and edge-grain chopping blocks available as well. You can click the E in the sidebar, header, or footer of this page to go directly to our Etsy shop, or you can click here to see our selection of lovely boards on the site.

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If you enjoyed our Simple Chocolate Covered Strawberries, subscribe below.

Lifestyle

Valentine’s Day Charcuterie Board

No-Cook Charcuterie Boards

We love to cook. That said, we understand that not everyone does! We also have nights where we simply can’t. In order to solve this issue, we have created a number of recipes that require very little preparation. This is why we created our No-Cook Valentine’s Day Charcuterie Board. Don’t worry, this board still have plenty of flavor and fresh ingredients to please your palate. Our goal is to simplify your busy life and allow you to spend more time socializing and enjoying yourself, as opposed to working in the kitchen. All of the ingredients in this recipe can be bought, ready to eat.

Valentine's Day Charcuterie Board by Royal We Studios
Fresh, Delicious, and Simple – Amazing!
Valentine's Day Charcuterie Board Ingredient List
Super Simple Preparation!

Preparation

Prep Time: 30 minutes

With the exception of the Brie Heart, all of the preparation time for this meal is spent either slicing or arranging fruits, meats , or cheeses. Buying ingredients pre-sliced can save even more time, but can get costly. Do what works best for your timing and budget.

Additional Tools

You will need a platter that measure approximately 20″ L x 8″ W. We chose to place this spread on one of our Crown Jewels Collection boards. Click here to see our selection of charcuterie boards. If you don’t have a charcuterie board, don’t worry – the food will still look and taste great! You will need a sturdy metal cookie cutter for the Brie Heart and a paring / chopping knife for the rest of the preparation. A small vase for the flowers will help them to stand upright, or you can lay them on the board – Your call!!

Instructions

Roses

It wouldn’t be a Valentine’s Day Charcuterie Board without a few roses! Cut the stems down to 4-6 inches and bunch 4 together inside of the small vase. Place 1 rose at each end of the board.

Brie Heart

Making Brie Hearts is very simple and gratifying. Not to mention, TASTY! Start by placing the cookie cutter in the center of the cheese. Press down firmly and evenly until the cookie cutter penetrates to the bottom of the cheese. Move the cookie cutter from side-to-side to loosen the cheese. You can also twist the cookie cutter a bit, but be careful not to lose the heart shape. Once the brie inside of the cookie cutter is dislodged from the rest of the wheel, lift up. You should be left with a heart-shaped void in the Brie. Spoon in your favorite preserves and place it at the top of your board. Remove the heart from the cookie cutter and place on the board.

Olive Oil w/Herbs

Add a bit of savory flavor to your Olive Oil with generous amounts of Italian Seasoning. You can also add a pinch of Garlic Powder and Crushed Red Pepper for extra pop. To complete this delicious dipping oil, drizzle Balsamic Vinegar to taste. If you want to take your bread offering to the next level, consider our Crostini & Olive Oil Herb Dip recipe. It has a wider variety of dried herbs and also includes the option to bake your bread for added crunch.

Slice & Garnish

Slice the remaining ingredients and place them as seen on the board above. Once everything is in place, tear off cilantro leaves and place them throughout the dish to give an added pop of fresh color and aroma.

Ready To Serve

Your No-Cook Valentine’s Day Charcuterie Board is ready to serve. Whether you are dining by candlelight with your partner, enjoying a night in with friends, or grazing with the family, this board is sure to delight. If you enjoyed this tutorial, subscribe below and follow us on social media for updates. We will be creating no-cook board ideas for every holiday. In addition, we are constantly posting new Recipes, Charcuterie Boards and Home & Garden tips. Make your night complete by serving up Chocolate Covered Strawberries as a perfect dessert!

Presentation

You may have noticed that we chose to serve our Valentine’s Day No-cook Charcuterie Board on a lovely piece of birch with epoxy inlay. While we don’t serve everything we make on a charcuterie board, we certainly think it adds a touch of class. We have boards for all occasions and tastes in our Etsy shop. We also have a selection of end-grain and edge-grain chopping blocks available as well. You can click the E in the sidebar, header, or footer of this page to go directly to our Etsy shop, or you can click here to see our selection of lovely boards on the site.

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If you enjoyed our Valentine’s Day No-Cook Charcuterie Board, subscribe below!

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Mason-Dixon Smoked Chicken

Our Mason-Dixon Smoked Chicken is a huge hit with our family. Because it is so easy to prepare, we make it very often. In addition, if there are leftovers, this chicken can be transformed into many additional amazing dishes. My personal favorite is smoky chicken salad, but there are so many other uses!

Our Mason-Dixon Smoked Chicken all starts with a simple, but tasty, brining process. Check out our Simple Guide To Brining Meats or Sweet & Savory Poultry Brine posts for the recipe! You will have to plan ahead for this recipe, but the preparation is definitely worth the investment!

This recipe has a great balance between
sweet, savory and smoky!

Prep Times

  • Cook Brine: 2 Hours
  • Brine Time: 8-12 Hours
  • Prepare Chicken: 1 Hour
  • Smoking: 3-4 Hours
Simple but delicious!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Pound Whole Chicken
  • 4 Quartered Lemons – Divided*
  • Rosemary Bunch (Fresh) – Divided*
  • Thyme Bunch (Fresh) – Divided*
  • Parsley Bunch (Fresh) – Divided*
  • 4-5 Garlic Cloves – Peeled & Smashed
  • 1 TBSP Whole Black Peppercorn
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • ½ Cup Honey
  • 10 TBSP Coarse Kosher Sea Salt
  • 10 Cups Water
Smoked To Perfection!

*Split the lemons and the herb bunches in half and use 2 lemons and half the herbs in the brine and the other half during cooking.

Directions

Sweet & Savory Poultry Brine: 2 Hours

Brine Time: 8-12 Hours

Prepare Chicken: 1 Hour

  • Remove chicken from brine.
  • Rinse and pat dry.
  • Allow to rest for 1 hour.
  • Insert reserved lemons and herbs into body cavity.
  • Truss the chicken with twine.
  • Soak your cherry and apple wood chips in water.
  • Bring your smoker up to 225 degrees.

Continue to check the your smoker box with chips/chunks. Also check your water pan regularly to ensure adequate moisture. Smoke chicken to 165 degrees internal temperature.

  • Remove the chicken from smoker.
  • Allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Remove lemon and herbs from cavity before serving.

Mason-Dixon Smoked Chicken is a family favorite!!! Even the pickiest eaters will fall in love with this sweet, savory and smoky chicken recipe!

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Sweet & Savory Poultry Brine

Our Sweet & Savory Poultry Brine is a simple but delicious staple in our kitchen. This brine is perfect for chicken, turkey, fish or even pheasant. The fresh citrus flavor enhances the natural flavors of the meat without overpowering. In addition, the ingredients are simple and fresh! If you would like more information on brining, check out our Simple Guide to Brining Meats. This brine is the flavor base for our Mason-Dixon Smoked Chicken recipe, as well!

Ingredients

*Split the lemons and the herb bunches in half. Use 2 lemons and half the herbs in the brine and the other half during cooking.

Simple, fresh ingredients combine for amazing flavor

Directions

Because you need to allow the brine to cool after simmering, you should plan for this recipe to take two hours total. Also, it is very important that you allow the brine to cool down to room temperature before adding your meat to the brine.

  • Select a pot large enough to hold ingredients and allows for meat to be fully submerged without overflowing.
  • In a large pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat source and let the brine cool to room temperature.

Once your brine has cooled to room temperature, you can add meat directly to your pot. Brine meat according to guidelines in our Simple Guide To Brining Meats. Larger cuts of meat will need to soak in brine longer because the flavors will need to penetrate further within the meat. Be sure to check out our recipe for Mason-Dixon Smoked Chicken as well.

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Simple Guide To Brining Meats

Our Mason-Dixon style of cooking relies on simple ingredients. Therefore, this Simple Guide To Brining Meats is a great way for you to start brining foods using common ingredients. Because most of the things that go into this brine are probably already in your cupboards, you can make this brine tonight. Let’s get started!

The Basics

Enhancing the flavor of any recipe or cooking method is simple with a great brine. Because meats like pork, chicken, fish, and turkey benefit the most from brining, that is where we will focus . When making a brine, the kosher sea salt provides most of the flavor. However, a great brine should also have other flavor profiles present to compliment the sea salt.

Kosher Sea Salt

As we said before, Kosher Sea Salt is the workhorse of the brine. This is due to the fact that is very effective at penetrating deep into the meat. Because the salt penetrates into the meat, it breaks down some of the fibers. As a result, the meat is more tender. We can all agree that tender meat is juicer, as well. Because everyone likes juicy cuts of flavorful meat! However, if you don’t have Coarse Kosher Sea Salt, any salt that you have available can be used for your brine. Above all, make sure to cook the brine until the salt is completely dissolved. Finally, As a general rule you should use 1 tablespoon of salt for every cup of water.

Sugar

Any great brine recipe will also contain some form of sugar. Because of their versatility around the kitchen, we prefer to use honey or brown sugar in our family’s brine recipes. For example, we prefer the bold, sweet flavor of brown sugar in our pork recipes. Because it has a slightly stronger flavor, it pairs well with the strong flavor of the meat. On the other hand, we add honey to recipes for fish, chicken or turkey. You really can’t go wrong with either choice, so experiment with different combinations and find out what your family likes best.

The recipe in the link below calls for honey because it is intended to brine a roaster chicken. However, you could easily substitute1/2 Cup of brown sugar for the 1/2 Cup of honey and get great results.

Spice

As we said before, a brine should have a host of different flavors. So, we would be crazy not to add spices to the brine. Therefore, we will infuse the meat with lovely aromatic flavors by adding some of our favorite spices.

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are commonly used in soups and stews to keep them from tasting too heavy. In addition, Bay Leaves add a subtle and complex bitterness that contributes to the wonderful flavor component of brines.

Spices and Herbs

In addition, peppercorns can be described as having a spicy, fresh and earthy taste, so use them generously if you and your family enjoy these flavor profiles. Whole Black Peppercorns are definitely the best way to season your brines. That said, you do not have to use whole black peppercorns. In a pinch, ground black pepper, white pepper, or even paprika can be substituted. The flavor profiles will change slightly as a result, but that is OK. Also, we bunch together flavorful garlic, thyme, rosemary and parsley to simmer in the brine mixture. However, any roasting herbs could flavor the brine perfectly.

Smashed Garlic

Lastly, your garlic should be smashed – not diced or chopped. By smashing the garlic under a knife blade you will damage the cell structure differently than chopping or mincing. As a result, it infuses a different flavor into the brine.

Acids

Lemons are generally added to chicken, fish and turkey brines. However, pork brines will usually call for apple cider or apple cider vinegar in place of the lemons. Because pork is generally considered tougher than poultry, the vinegar is more effective at breaking down the meat and making it more tender. However, the citrus flavor of the lemons compliments the earthy herbs and salty flavors perfectly for poultry dishes. Because every family is different, feel free to experiment with different combinations until you find your perfect mix.

Cooking Your Brine

Before we start cooking, we would like to cover the basics in our Simple Guide To Brining Meats. First, make sure to cook your brine in a pot large enough to hold the cut of meat that you plan to brine plus your liquid brine. Because your pots and pans may be different sizes, it may take a bit of experimentation to get the amount of liquid just right. Above all, you will want to ensure that your meat is fully submerged in brine. To avoid the issue of not having enough brine, always simmer more liquid than you think you will need. Because you can always drain off any excess liquid, there is no risk to making a larger batch.

Pot Selection

Brining a chicken is simple, but you may just be starting out. If that is the case, and you don’t have a pot large enough, this 12-Quart pot is what we normally use for our roaster chickens. This pot is perfect because it leaves plenty of space for the brine to cover the entire bird without having to worry about sloshing / overflowing of liquids.

Brining a turkey may require significantly larger pot, so you may want to consider this 60-Quart Brew Kettle. Because it is designed to fit on a propane turkey fryer, and will hold birds up to 30 pounds.

Timing

Plan for one hour of cook time for your brine, but also plan for an hour of cooldown time. Above all, make sure you bring your water up to temperature because simmering is important to ensure that all of the flavors develop fully and mix well. Once your brine is full of flavor, it will need to cool for approximately an hour prior to adding your meat. It is very important that you take the time to allow your brine to cool to room temperature, so plan accordingly. By placing your meat in hot brine will start the cooking process, therefore boiling the meat. No one wants boiled turkey – Trust me!!

Brine Time Guidelines

It is possible to over-infuse or over-brine your meat, so make sure to consult the chart below for suggested brine times. Over-brining can also occur if there is too much salt in the mixture, so make sure you use one tablespoon of salt for every cup of water. Also, if you are concerned with the flavor of your meat you can cut off a small piece of meat and cook it. Once cooled, sample the meat to determine the flavor and saltiness of the brine.

Meat TypeCutBrine Time
ChickenBoneless Breast2 Hours
Chicken2 Lb. Roaster4-6 Hours
Chicken3-4 Lb. Roaster8-12 Hours
PorkChops2 Hours
Pork4 Lb. Loin12 Hours
TurkeyBoneless Breast12-18 Hours
Turkey10-15 Lb. Roaster24 Hours
Turkey15-30 Lb. Roaster36 Hours
FishFilet1 Hour
FishSteak8 Hours
Follow these simple guidelines for perfectly brined meats!

Our Simple Guide To Brining Meats would not be complete without a bonus recipe!

Sweet & Savory Poultry Brine

Our Sweet & Savory Poultry Brine is a simple but delicious staple in our kitchen. This brine is perfect for chicken, turkey, or even pheasant. The fresh citrus flavor enhances the natural flavors of the meat without overpowering. In addition, the ingredients are simple and fresh! If you would like more information on brining, check out our Simple Guide to Brining Meats.

Ingredients

*Split the lemons and the herb bunches in half. Use 2 lemons and half the herbs in the brine and the other half during cooking.

Simple, fresh ingredients combine for amazing flavor

Directions

Because you need to allow the brine to cool after simmering, you should plan for this recipe to take two hours total. Also, it is very important that you allow the brine to cool down to room temperature before adding your meat to the brine.

  • Select a pot large enough to hold ingredients and allows for meat to be fully submerged without overflowing.
  • In a large pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat source and let the brine cool to room temperature.

Once your brine has cooled to room temperature, you can add meat directly to your pot. Brine meat according to guidelines above. Larger cuts of meat will need to soak in brine longer because the flavors will need to penetrate further within the meat.

Because it is so simple and fresh, we make this brine all the time. This brine is also the used as the flavor base for our Mason-Dixon Smoked Chicken recipe! We hope you enjoyed our Simple Guide To Brining Meats.

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Mason-Dixon Pulled Pork Tortilla Wrap

We smoke a lot of pork in our house. One of our favorite cuts is a whole pork shoulder. The cut usually runs between 8-10 pounds. Once it is smoked and pulled, we usually end up with 5-7 pounds of delicious pulled pork. While I would be happy to eat pulled pork on a roll until it is all gone, not everyone is wired like I am. I found a delicious compromise to keep things fresh for the rest of the family, the Mason-Dixon Pulled Pork Tortilla Wrap. By slightly transforming the delicious, smoky pork into another dish, it helps to use up the remainder.

Our family has fallen in love with the Tortilla Wrap.
If you don’t know what that is – no worries!!
Let us introduce you to this super simple and delicious trend!

The Tortilla Wrap

Who knows where this idea came from – but we love it! The tortilla wrap brings crunchy, savory, sweet, and gooey together in one nice neat package. It is super simple and leaves us scratching our heads – wondering why we didn’t come up with this sooner!!

Crowd Pleasing Twist To Taco Night Cooked in A Lodge 12″ Cast Iron Pan

Let’s get cooking!

Mason-Dixon Pulled Pork Tortilla Wrap

Ingredients

Directions

  • Lay the tortilla down on a plate and make a slice from the center of the tortilla to the bottom.
  • Place a slice of Pepper-Jack cheese in Section 1 and another in Section 4. Trim the edges of the cheese slightly so that it fits on the tortilla wrapper.
  • Place your Pulled Pork in Section 2. Add Stubb’s BBQ sauce to taste.
  • Spoon Cole Slaw into Section 3.
  • Pre-heat 10″ or larger pan over medium-low heat.
  • Coat pan with butter.
  • Once butter starts to brown slightly, gently slide your tortilla wrapper on to the sizzling pan

  • Cook tortilla over medium-low heat until cheese is fully melted.
  • Once cheese is fully melted, use a spatula to lift up the lower left edge of Section 1 of the tortilla.
  • Fold Section 1 over so that it completely covers Section 2.
  • Apply a bit of pressure to ensure the melted cheese sticks to the pulled pork.
  • Now fold Section 2 over to the right so that it completely covers Section 3.
  • Flatten the tortilla out so that there are no lumps or bumps in the surface.
  • Fold Section 4 up to completely cover Section 3.
  • Make sure the melted cheese sticks to the tortilla wrapper.
  • Center the tortilla wrapper in the pan and let it brown for 30-45 seconds.
  • Flip and repeat.

This recipe is so simple and packs a ton of flavor into a small, crunchy, hand-held package. The best part is, you can customize this recipe however you would like. Try this recipe out and let us know what you think of the Mason-Dixon Pulled Pork Tortilla Wrap!!

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Complete Guide to Indoor Grilling

Our Complete Guide to Indoor Grilling will walk you through everything you need to be an absolute Grillmaster – Without the actual grill!! To do this, we are going to cover step-by-step instructions on how to take your grilling game to the next level within the comfort of your own kitchen.

No Grill Needed!!

I will say it again – You do not actually need a grill to make delicious meals that look, taste and smell just like they came off the grill. The secret is this Cast Iron Grill / Griddle from Lodge. Because this amazingly versatile kitchen essential will allow you to sear, sauté, and char your dishes to perfection!

Make amazing looking steaks – without a grill!

Flavor, Flavor, Flavor!

Enhancing meals with flavor is a priority for our family. Our Complete Guide to Indoor Grilling would fall short if we didn’t provide tips on how to flavor your meats. Because of this, your plan to flavor your proteins should be your first consideration. Based on your tastes and timing, you can choose to marinade, inject, brine, or rub your meats. No matter which you choose, you can’t go wrong. By identifying a few solid go-to flavor-enhancers that load your foods with flavor, you can consistently create delicious meals. My personal recommendation is our amazing brine recipe that you can find below.

Marinade

As you are aware, marinades are a super-simple way to impart a tremendous amount of flavor into any meat. In addition, marinades work well with pork, beef, chicken, and seafood. Because of this fact, there are myriad choices available in the market. Dry packaged marinades, like the Brazilian Steakhouse pictured below require the addition of a few simple ingredients like oil, water, and vinegar. Personally, I prefer to make up my marinades in a gallon sized zip-top bag.

First, empty the dry contents of the seasoning packet into the bag. Next, you will add the wet ingredients, such as oil, water, and red wine vinegar. After that, you can simply swirl everything around to mix thoroughly. Once you trim and slice the meat, it is ready for a dip in the flavor pool. Next, I drop in my protein into the bag and seal it with the slider. Because air will create pockets, make sure to seal out any excess air. This small extra step provides a thorough coating and consistent contact with all surfaces of the meat. I follow the same process with the wet marinades featured below, as well. Now that your meat is coated thoroughly, toss it in the fridge for a few hours to let it marinate.

Inject

Injection is another great method for flavoring your meats. It is as easy as taking a loaded syringe full of delicious flavor and injecting it directly into the meat. Another reason we love this option is because it is very versatile. Because it can be done before, during, or after cooking, this option is particularly attractive for large cuts of meat where traditional basting would not penetrate deep into the meat. One of the most popular injections on the market is The Cajun Injector. This product packs meats with flavor and the syringe is sturdy and reliable.

Brine

This is probably my favorite way to impart flavor to a grilled meal because it penetrates throughout the entire cut. If you have the time to prepare the brine and let your meat soak overnight, this is the best way to go. We have a brine recipe that we are very fond of because it is very fresh tasting. This brine packs a ton of flavor while complimenting the natural taste of chicken, pork, or turkey. You can find our Sweet & Savory Poultry Brine here.

Brine Ingredients

  • 4 Quartered Lemons – Divided*
  • Rosemary – Fresh Bunch – Divided*
  • Thyme – Fresh Bunch – Divided*
  • Parsley – Fresh Bunch – Divided*
  • 4-5 Garlic Cloves – Peeled & Smashed
  • 1 TBSP Whole Black Peppercorn
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • ½ Cup Honey
  • 10 TBSP Coarse Kosher Sea Salt
  • 10 Cups Water
  • *Split the lemons and the herb bunches in half. Now you can use 2 lemons and half the herbs in the brine and the other half during cooking.

Cook the Brine

  1. Select a pot large enough to hold ingredients and allows for meat to be fully submerged without overflowing.
  2. In the large pot combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat source and let the brine cool to room temperature.
  5. Add meat to room temperature brine and fully submerge . Its helpful to put a heavy plate on top of meat to help weigh it down in brine mix. Also, if you find there is not enough water to fully cover, simply add more until meat is fully submerged.
  6. Refrigerate

Rub

There are TONS of rubs available out there. Some are Sweet and Smoky like the one featured below, while others are more savory. There are rubs that have a heavy base of coffee flavor, as well. Regardless of what your favorite flavor profile is, there is a rub out there for you. Personally, I love the convenience of an all-in-one rub because it makes things quick and easy. Again, find a rub or three that you and your family enjoy and keep them in your rotation. This should keep your crowd happy and make dishes feel more diverse because you won’t be eating the same flavor over and over again.

Pro Tip: Applying a liberal coating of plain yellow mustard prior to applying rub will help the rub to stick to the meat without making the meat taste like mustard. Science!

Grilling Without The Grill

Now that we have our meats flavored up, our Complete Guide to Indoor Grilling will cover everything you need to know about grilling indoors.

  1. Be prepared for some mess! You will be cooking on an open griddle. There will be splashes and splatters. It will be worth it!
  2. There will be smoke! Grill lines, beautiful searing, delicious char – All of these cooking techniques are going to generate smoke. Be prepared by blasting your hood fan and cracking a window!

As you can see from the video above, the griddle is designed to be placed over two burners on your propane or natural gas stove. The griddle has two sides – a flat side and a side with raised ‘grill grates’. As you may have guessed, the flat side is ideal for searing large flat surfaces, like a roast beef. However, The ‘grill’ side of the griddle is perfect for getting those lovely grill marks on your meats. Depending on how you season your meat, those grates will also impart additional flavor in the form of char or caramelization. Best of all, these flavor notes, combined with the tell-tale grill marks will make your foods look, taste, and smell like they just came off the grill!

Let’s Get Cooking!

Brazilian Steakhouse Chicken

Recipe

1 Packet McCormick Grillmates Brazilian Steakhouse Marinade
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup Water
1 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
2 Lbs. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

Preparation

  1. Place dry marinade in a one gallon zip-top container. Add oil, water and vinegar.
  2. Mix contents of marinade thoroughly – set aside.
  3. Trim chicken breasts of any visible fat. Remove rib meat, if present.
  4. Slice chicken breasts in half, widthwise.
  5. Place chicken in marinade. Shake bag after placing each piece in bag to ensure total coverage of the meat.
  6. Seal bag, ensuring that any excess air is squeezed out.
  7. Place bag in fridge overnight.

Cooking

  1. Preheat griddle over low-medium heat, grate side up. Add a touch of olive oil to the grate. When oil begins to smoke slightly, you are ready to cook.
  2. Place chicken on griddle at a 45 degree angle. Breasts should be placed directly over burners for best results.
  3. Discard any remaining marinade.
  4. Cook until breasts reach an internal temperature between 115-125 degrees.
  5. Flip your chicken and cook until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Allow your chicken to rest for ten minutes. Once cooled, you are ready to serve up a delicious ‘grilled’ treat that you and your family will love!

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Mason-Dixon Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread Recipe

I have made my fair share of cornbread recipes trying to find the perfect southern styled bread with a fluffy, sweet and buttery texture. Each recipe I tried was OK, but lacked that WOW! factor because they were too dry or not dense enough. You know, that special moment when you surrender yourself to the delicious taste of the sweet and buttery flavor of Mason-Dixon Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread melting in your mouth (I’m not drooling…. promise).

While our family has enjoyed exploring different flavors and textures, we have finally found our favorite and most requested skillet cornbread. This recipe is very simple, but is sure to please any crowd! Below is my recipe for Mason-Dixon Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread. The recipe is the perfect amount to fill a 12″ Lodge Cast Iron Skillet And don’t worry – If you don’t have a Cast Iron Skillet, I have included instructions to make this dish in bakeware, as well!

Mason-Dixon Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread

Ingredients:

1 Cup Flour, Spooned and Leveled

¾ Cup Yellow Cornmeal

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder*

½ Cup or 1 Stick of Butter

¼ Cup Vegetable Oil

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/3 Cup Honey

2 Large Eggs

1 & ¼ Cup Buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place a 9 Inch Cast Iron Skillet in the oven to warm while the oven preheats.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, kosher salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  3. Melt half of the butter and set other half aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl add the melted butter, oil, sugar and honey together (I use a very liberal 1/3 cup of honey when making for my family).
  5. Add the eggs and buttermilk to the butter, oil and sugar mixture – whisk together until combined.
  6. Stir in the dry ingredients until well combined but do not over mix. Some lumps are ok.
  7. Remove the skillet from the oven. Coat the bottom and sides of the skillet with the reserved half stick of butter.
  8. Pour the batter into the skillet and smooth out the top.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Drizzle additional honey on top of cornbread, if desired.
  11. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

*If using an 8×8 or 9×9 pan, use only 1 teaspoon of baking powder. In addition, do not preheat the baking pan like you would the cast iron skillet. You can either spray the baking pan with non-stick cooking spray or coat with the remaining butter prior to pouring your batter.

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