WARNING: This is not a healthy recipe…but it’s delicious. If you’re looking to cut some pounds, or you’re watching your cholesterol, this recipe isn’t for you and you should go check out our Easy Grilled Asparagus. Even if you are watching your waistline, make these […]
You’d think that boiling an egg would be one of those kitchen tasks that you can’t fail, but I’m here to tell you that you can mess this up. An overcooked hard boiled egg will have a rubbery white portion, and the normally bright yellow yolk will turn green. Overcooked hard boiled eggs will also begin to have a sulfur smell to them. Depending on what consistency you’re looking for, you can also end up under-cooking your eggs.
The method of cooking our eggs for this experiment was to place them into boiling water for a designated time, then remove and immediately place them into ice water to stop the cooking process as quickly as possible. This process was selected to produce consistent, repeatable results in any environment.
I’ll often see instructions that start the eggs in cold water, or allowing the eggs to sit in the hot water after the heat has been turned off. The issue with these methods is they don’t take into account the heat retention properties of the pot. The speed at which an aluminum pot will reach a boiling point compared to the speed a heavy cast iron dutch oven will, using the same heat input, is very different. On the flip side, the speed at which the heat dissipates from these vessels is also drastically different. Our method was chosen to remove as many variables as possible, and to promote consistency.
Here are the visual results.
- 14 minutes – The egg was cooked all the way through and the yolk didn’t show any signs of “wetness”.
- 9 minutes – This was the first egg that crossed from having a shine to an actual wet center.
- 6 minutes – We’re going classify this egg as the perfect soft boiled egg. The yolk was fully runny, and the white was completely cooked.
- 5 minutes – This egg was hard to peel and probably had some uncooked white mixed in. This may have turned out alright if we didn’t send it right to the ice water.
- 4 minutes – I think the visual evidence is enough here, plenty of uncooked egg white. There was more cooked egg white, but it was thoroughly stuck to the shell and too much work to separate.
- 3 minutes – after seeing the 4 minute egg, we didn’t bother peeling this one.
- Ranch Dressing
- Hot Sauce
P.S. Please ignore the drink suggestions…
Let me preface this post by saying I’m a spicy food junkie. The way the spiciness of a meal gets those endorphins rocketing through my brain is a borderline addiction of mine, and this dish has plenty of that. WAIT, wait, wait. Don’t let that scare you away. This recipe is still amazing, even if you dial back the heat. Give it a shot, and make some adjustments to customize this dish to your liking (I’ll include a reduced spice recommendation).
While this dish has plenty of kick the underlying creaminess is what makes it amazing. The rice and shrimp have a way of balancing out the bite of everything else that makes this spicy.
Servings 6 to 8
- 4 bone-in chicken thighs
- 1/2 lb andouille sausage, cut into quarter inch coins
- 1 lb of 31 to 40 count raw shrimp (check out tip #1 below)
- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 2 ribs of celery, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 cups rice
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 8 oz clam juice
- 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper – reduce or skip this to dial back the heat
- 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tbsp dry thyme
- 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
Bowl 1 – red pepper, green pepper, onion, celery, garlic
Bowl 2 – diced tomatoes, clam juice, chicken broth, oregano, cayenne, paprika, pepper, salt
Bowl 3 – cooked andouille sausage (put this bowl together after step 2 below) and raw shrimp.
- Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a 6 quart dutch oven, and heat on medium high, just until it begins to smoke. Dry the chicken thighs and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken thighs in, skin side down, and cook until golden, approximately 4 minutes. Flip the chicken thighs and cook them an additional 4 minutes. Remove and set aside the chicken.
- Add the andouille sausage to the pot. Cook, while stirring/flipping as necessary, until both sides of each coin are well browned and appear crispy. Set aside in a bowl (bowl 3) large enough to fit the raw shrimp as well.
- Pour off all but 4 tbsp. of the oil in the dutch oven, and reserve.
- Pour in bowl 1 (red pepper, green pepper, onion, celery, and garlic). Cook, stirring occasionally until ingredients begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
- Pour in rice, cook until the rice begins to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. If the mixture looks a bit dry, add in a tbsp. of the reserved oil.
- Stir in bowl 2, bring to a simmer.
- As soon as the pot begins to simmer, remove the skin from the chicken and nestle it into the mixture, cover, and reduce heat to keep a light simmer going. Cook until the rice is almost tender, about 20 minutes. If the mixture looks as if it is drying out, add a bit of broth. Check the tips below for a suggestion about what to do with the chicken skin.
- When the rice is almost tender, the chicken should be at a good temperature. Verify the chicken is cooked using a digital thermometer, then remove from the dutch oven and set aside, attempting to get any rice off the outside of the chicken.
- Toss bowl 3 (shrimp and andouille sausage) into the pot. Press the shrimp down into the jambalaya and cook until pink, around 5 minutes.
- While the shrimp is cooking, shred the chicken and return it to the dutch oven.
- Hot Sauce – Louisiana Style – While this dish packs a considerable punch, I love to have the ability to turn it up one more notch.
- Beer – IPA or Amber – I’d alternate between these two recommendations based on the drinkers spice tolerance. Send the spice heads the IPA, to let the hoppiness accentuate the heat of the dish, while sliding the ambers to the people looking for a more tame evening.
- Wine – Riesling – the fruitiness of this wine will add contrast and cut some of the heat.
- Removing tails from the shrimp – The way that I buy shrimp most often is raw, peeled, and deveined. One thing I like to do with this recipe is remove the tails from the shrimp. This isn’t required, but it allows me to stuff this dish into my face as fast as possible and removes the need to keep an eye out for tails :). The way I do this is pinch between the tail (or any remaining shell) and the meat of the shrimp. Be careful not to squeeze out the shrimp that remains in the tail or remaining shell, since the portion isn’t deveined, and shouldn’t be consumed because it can alter the taste and texture of the shrimp in a yucky way.
- Chicken skin use – You’ll be sorry if you toss these tasty little morsels into the trash. I know that this isn’t the healthiest of dishes, but what I do with these is toss them into a cast iron skillet until they’re light brown and crispy on both sides. I like to think of it as my reward for making this fantastic jambalaya. These are ALWAYS gone before I’m finished with the main dish…sometimes I share.
Have fun, don’t stress out, and this is going to be delicious. I used to have incredibly stressful moments while trying to follow recipes, but I realize that a completely lost dish doesn’t happen very often. For instance, while experimenting with this dish I put together a version that didn’t have enough liquid. This caused my beautiful jambalaya to adhere itself to the bottom of the dutch oven. As soon as I realized what was happening I tossed in a bit more chicken broth and went to town scraping the bottom of the dutch oven with my trusty wooden spoon. It still turned out fantastic, even if the dutch oven was a bit more of a pain to clean.
No summer BBQ is complete without a heaping mound of delicious potato salad sitting next to whatever Uncle Jack has been endlessly fiddling with on the grill for the past two hours. This recipe combines great fresh flavors, good balance, and fantastic texture, all while […]
Before the torches and pitchforks come out, give me a chance to explain myself here. I know that barbecue pit-masters think having the word propane and smoked in the same sentence is blasphemous. You just don’t smoke meat unless you’re doing it on a charcoal grill or an offset smoker (this one is a great deal right now if you’re looking to invest), or…anything besides a propane grill. Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t have one of those “acceptable” items and, like me, may only have a propane grill. Using the method described in this recipe will allow you to produce some fantastically juicy ribs, and dip your feet into smoking meat when you only have a propane grill at your disposal.
For this recipe I used hickory wood chips, but you could customize the smoke flavor by switching up they type of wood chips you use. If you were looking for a stronger flavor you could use Mesquite, or if you’re looking for a lighter smoke flavor you could use cherry or apple wood. I happened to be poking around the clearance section of a local Target at the end of the grilling season a couple of years ago and I was lucky enough to stumble upon bags of hickory wood chips for something like $1.50. Needless to say, I stocked up. I recently purchased a variety pack of chips that has hickory, mesquite, and apple. I think hickory suits this recipe well because there are plenty of strong flavors in the rub, so using a type of wood chips that have a strong flavor will help the smoke shine through. Personally, I feel apple chips from the varity pack I purchased would be better suited for less seasoned dishes.
Many will say that strike two on this dish is using spare ribs instead of back ribs. It’s true that back ribs are better suited to achieve that fall-off-the-bone tenderness that most people target when smoking ribs, but it’s not like spare ribs taste like lima beans mixed with pig boogers. Spare ribs have loads more meat on them compared to their high class back rib brethren, even if the meat is a tad bit tougher. They are also generally cheaper per pound. This meal got started when I found a 6 lb. slab of ribs for about $7.00, which was a deal I couldn’t pass up.
- Rack of spare ribs – membrane removed (check tip #1 below)
- Wood chips – choose type based on your preference based on my description above
- 12 oz. of apple juice, cider, or beer
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tbsp. cumin powder
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
Prep: 10 minutes
- Dry rub – in a bowl, mix brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and cayenne
- Remove the membrane from the underside of the ribs (check tip #2 below)
Process: 3.5 hours
- Preheat and clean your grill using all available burners.
- Create two foil wood chip packet: Lay out about 16 inches of foil on a flat surface. Take a handful or two (precise measurements required *sarcasm*) of wood chips on half of the foil. Fold the tinfoil half without wood chips over the half with wood chips, then fold the edges a couple of times to seal the pouch. Take a toothpick and poke 10-15 holes in the top of the foil packet.
- Turn off all but one of the end burners (check tip #2 below), which should be left at medium low heat.
- Carefully lift the grill grate that is above the lit burner and place one of the foil wood chip packets on the burner heat shield.
- Thoroughly dry both sides of the ribs using paper towel, then generously apply about half of the rub to all sides of the ribs.
- Once the wood chips begin producing smoke place the ribs on the cool side of the grill.
- Smoke the ribs for one hour while keeping the wood chip packet smoking as much as possible (check tip #3 below). The grill should be around 225℉. If the foil packet stops producing smoke with sufficient heat, swap it for the second packet.
- Wrap the ribs in foil, pouring in approximately 6 oz. of apple juice, cider, or beer, and then seal (check tip #4 below).
- Return the ribs to the grill and light two or three burners, bringing the temperature up to 325℉ for about one hour. I have a five burner grill, so I generally light the two end burners to provide indirect heat, and the middle.
- Remove the ribs from the foil and return them to the grill.
- Add the remaining apple juice, cider, or beer to the remaining rub and combine.
- Cook the ribs using indirect heat for an additional hour at approximately 300℉. Flip and and apply the rub/liquid mixture using a basting brush every 15 minutes.
- Remove the ribs from the grill and cover them in foil when ribs are tender (see tip #5 below). Allow them to rest for 10 minutes prior to serving.
- Removing the membrane – This might be my least favorite part of making ribs, but I feel it’s necessary. On the underside of the rack, use a knife to peel up an edge of the membrane that covers the ribs. Grab onto the membrane using paper towel to increase grip and prevent slipping. If you’re lucky, it’ll all come off in one pull, otherwise you’ll have to go through this process a couple of times. If there are some small difficult spots don’t stress out, if you leave a bit on, it isn’t going to ruin the dish.
- Place the wood chip packet on an end burner of your grill. If there is a breeze, try to place the packet on the end of the grill where the wind is blowing. This will draw the smoke into the meat, rather than away from it.
- Maximizing the smoke is a all about riding the thin line between smoke and fire. If your foil packet does catch fire, turn off the burner, carefully attempt to blow it out, and then re-light the burner and set it to a slightly low temperature. This process takes some babysitting, so set up camp by the grill with a cold one…or four, and bask in the glorious scent of the hickory smoke.
- When wrapping the ribs in foil, the bones have a nasty habit of poking holes in the foil. Use heavy duty foil for this step. I’ve made the mistake of buying the cheap stuff, which a slight breeze will shred. I also usually use two or three layers to avoid punctures. There is nothing worse then setting the ribs back on the grill to hear a loud sizzle as all the liquid drains out, forcing you to start over.
- The biggest visual cue that your ribs have reached their final state is the end of the bones will be significantly protruded from the meat. You’ll notice this begin to occur after you remove the ribs from the foil packet in step 10 above, and it will progress throughout the cooking process.