Hey everybody! So, I’ve been hearing about it…I’ve been reading about it…the Instant Pot. At first I brushed it off, I mean I have a pressure cooker, I have a slow cooker, do I really need this device? I’m also the type of person that tends to stay away from another kitchen “gadget.” But, Instant Pot has been so popular for so long with so many great things said about it that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. So, I decided to make a space in my kitchen for it and for my birthday my beautiful wife and in-laws ended up getting me on…so it’s been about a month since I got it and I just now finally busted it out! I was perusing the internet, looking at what other people were doing and settled on trying some carnitas. All I can say is WOW! It really is a great kitchen appliance. It was so nice to be able to saute, pressure cook and then keep the food warm all in one pot! I also really like how it takes a lot of the guessing work out of pressure cooking. I have a stove top pressure cooker as well and you kind of have to baby sit them while they do their thing. I was also really impressed how easy it was to clean. So, even though I only have one cook under my belt, so far I give this thing two big thumbs up. Can’t wait to do more with it! So, as far as the recipe goes, I made some very traditional pork carnitas, that I served on yellow corn tortillas, with homemade pico de gallo and a avocado crema. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Guacamole is one of my favorite dips, right behind Galliker's french onion chip dip. It's super easy to make and just has such a great, fresh flavor...and people tend to love it so it usually goes over well. This recipe is very traditional and honestly, I don't believe guacamole should ever be over complicated....don't mess with it! This entry is a two-parter. I made a big batch of guacamole to make homemade burrito bowls one night. So my next recipe will be the burrito bowls. I figured this guacamole recipe deserved it's own post...it's that dang good!
When beginning to write this entry, my mind started thinking, where did guacamole come from? Thank god for Google, I got a pretty quick answer that I thought was intriguing.
Prep time: 15m | Cook time: 0min | Total time: 15min | Yield: 3 cups
- 2 rip Hass avocados
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno, including seeds, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- Cut the avocado in half and then remove the pit. Scoop the avocado flesh out and place in a medium bowl. Toss and coat with lime juice.
- Add the salt and using a fork or potato masher, mash until a smooth consistency is achieved
- Fold in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Taste the guacamole and adjust seasoning if necessary.
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The weather last week was absolutely incredible for mid-February in Northeast Indiana. Mid-upper 60s all week and I took advantage of it in a big way! I cleaned my Weber Performer Deluxe, got a couple bags of charcoal, some propane canisters, and grilled out pretty much every night of the week....it was GLORIOUS!! Saturday I ended up smoking a rack of spare ribs for the first time in shorts and a t-shirt while sippin' on a Yeungling...IN FEBRUARY!! The spare ribs turned out alright, but I wasn't quite happy with them enough to share them quite yet....so I am going to continue working on the recipe and hopefully will have that to you soon. Of course, now we are back to normal February weather...blah! So, my smoking experiments may have to wait, unless I am feeling bold.
But, one thing that I was VERY happy with were these Cajun BBQ Chicken thighs. The one reason I absolutely love chicken thighs is because they are soooo much cheaper than chicken breasts. For typically half the price I can get 4 chicken thighs, but they don't seem to be all that popular. I believe the reason why is because they are a little intimidating to the average home cook. But, I promise you, there isn't anything to be scared of! Two things you want to make sure of is 1) Getting the skin nice and crispy and 2) Obtaining a temperature of 175F. The reason why we want a higher temperature compared to chicken breast (165F) is because chicken thighs contain a lot more connective tissue so they can withstand a lot higher heat than the breast. But, if you don't cook them to a higher temperature you typically get a chewy mess because that connective tissue hasn't broken down. You know what the best way to achieve this temperature? Get your butt over to Thermoworks and pick yourself up an Thermapen MK4. You want to talk about a useful piece of cooking equipment, they are totally worth the money and would make a perfect gift for a cook in your family. Easy to use, accurate, durable; you can't beat them! Now onto the recipe!
Cajun BBQ Chicken Thighs
Prep time: 10m | Cook time: 30min | Total time: 40min | Yield: 4 servings
- 6 Tbsp paprika
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp ground white pepper
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp cayenne
- 4 chicken thighs
- Barbeque Sauce, as needed
- Mix the first 8 ingredients together and store in an container. This is a standard cajun seasoning that can be used on a number of different things.
- Season the tops and bottoms of the chicken thighs generously with the cajun seasoning. I prefer to let them sit overnight in this seasoning, but you can use them immediately if you don't have the time.
- Heat grill, either charcoal or gas, so that there is a direct heat side and an indirect side. Whenever the grill is hot, place the chicken thighs, skin side down, on the direct heat side. Grill for 4 minutes and then rotate 90 degress and grill for another 4 minutes until skin is crispy. Watch for flare ups during this period and make sure the skin doesn't burn.
- Once skin is crispy transfer the chicken to the indirect side, skin side up, cover and continue cooking. Once you reach an internal temperature of about 160F, go ahead and apply some barbeque sauce on the tops. Cover and continue to cook until you reach an internal temperature of 170F.
- Remove from grill and let rest for 5 min, the cooking processing should continue during this rest period and get you to exactly 175F. Grab some napkins and dig in!