Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: Thumbs Up Diner, Atlanta, GA

After a late night with Garth, we all needed a good breakfast for the road home. We went to the phones and found "Thumbs Up Diner". They had good reviews, and were near by, so we said what the heck.

I did the usual, scrambled eggs, grits, bacon, and dry toast ... I don't like buttered down soggy toast. The eggs were a lot more wet than I like. I don't know what it was, but I wasn't a fan. I still ate them because I was hungov ... I mean hungry ... but they were just eehhh. The grits were good once I add my butter and salt and pepper. The bacon was absolutely delicious. I know bacon is always delicious, but this was some of the better bacon I've ever had in a diner.

Dawn got "The Skillet Heap". It's a skillet with potatoes, onions, and peppers topped with cheddar jack cheese, two eggs, and toast or multi-grain biscuit, which she went with. Lets just say, the only part Dawn didn't like about this, was that we had a 3 hour drive home and we weren't sure if the leftovers would last that long, so she had to leave them behind.
(Note: no, she didn't eat all of this. I don't think she even touched half of it.)

Next time you're in Atlanta, here's a new place to give a try, just remember 2 things ... take cash, because they don't accept cards and bring me back some bacon.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: The Smoking Pig

I'm as big of a Gamecock fan as they get. I don't have any tattoos or name my pets after former players (although we did have a gnome that I named Marcus Gnomimore in honor of Marcus Lattimore), but I still hate Clemson and everything about it. I hate their teams, I hate their school, I hate their town, I hate absolutely everything about that place ... scratch that, I hate absolutely everything about that play BUT The Smoking Pig.

We had some extra tickets for the Carolina vs. Georgia game so we were trying to find a place to meet. I asked the wifey if she wanted to meet in Anderson and try something new for dinner (we don't go to that neck of the woods for reasons stated above). She come across The Smoking Pig, and it just so happened that Dawn's coworker's son works there.

Dawn got chopped chicken with baked beans and banana pudding. She loved the chicken, said it had great flavor, and also liked the baked beans, but again, banana pudding is her measuring stick ... and she loved it (not sure you can really mess up banana pudding).

I went with the full sample plate, and by full sample plate I mean; pulled pork, brisket, and ribs with baked beans and jalapeno cheese grits. The pulled pork and brisket were both very good. The ribs were good, but tasted as if they might have sat for some time. Either that or they were a little under. They had great flavor, but some pull and tough bite. The beans and the jalapeno cheese grits were both very good too. I did as much damage on them as I could, but I had to finish the meat, so there was some of the sides left behind.

Oh, and the biscuits/rolls were delicious too.

Before we left, I had to stop by the restroom since we had an hour drive back home, and they had this sign in there. I thought it was hilarious, my wife (and other ladies reading this) didn't think it was quiet as funny.

When we take trips to Atlanta, we'll hit the road and then stop somewhere during the drive and try it out. It's going to be hard to pass Clemson and not stop at The Smoking Pig instead of making some negative comment about how much I hate that place. We're actually going to see Garth Brooks in Atlanta this weekend, so we may just have to revisit ... of course, still wearing Gamecock garb.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Southerner's Dream Come True: Whiskey & Bacon

Guess what, New York Strips were on sale ... so guess what this guy got ...

We tried a new recipe on these. We went to Pepper Palace on vacation and picked up this "American Blend" rub. It smelled good and I'm a patriotic person so we got it. Sprinkled some veggie oil on, then garlic, and topped it off with the rub.

Let it marinate for about 15 minutes and then threw it on the grill (make sure to pat it dry before placing on the grill. The "juice" will cause it to flare up) and sprinkled on a whiskey and worcestershire sauce mix as I rotated.

On the side, we made a bacon "confetti cream corn". It sounds fancy, but is pretty simple. Take your corn and cut it off the cob ...

dice 1/2 a cup of sweet onion, green pepper, and red pepper ....

and cook it all together on med-high for 6 minutes or till it's soft. Then add 8oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup of half and half, and 1 tsp of sugar, salt, and black pepper.

To continue with the whiskey theme, we decided to make a special drink. Now, Georgia may be named "The Peach State", but South Carolina produces more peaches than Georgia. To put it simple, even at their claim to fame, South Carolina is still better than they are.

The drink is simple, you mix half of a chopped up peach (doesn't have to be as chopped as pictured), 1 1/2 turbinado sugar, and 3 oz whiskey, shake it up and poor into a glass, and then add 1/4 cup of "lemon-lime soft drink" (Dawn made me get the "zero" ... stupid trying to get in shape), or however much for your preference.

As the drinks are being made, the steaks come off the grill. For some reason, I didn't get the marks I usually do, but they were cooked to perfection.

Oh yeah, don't forget the bacon to go on top of the corn, because bacon makes everything better.

The Georgia jabs and peach comments were solely made in honor of this weekends game. You see, my Gamecocks may have taken a little lump in week 1, and we may not have played the best against ECU, but the Jawja Mutts are coming to town, and here in the south, we believe in our teams till the bitter sweet end. So, with that said, LET'S GO COCKS!!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Nolan Ryan's Cajun Burgers

We hadn't had burgers in a while, so the wifey suggested that I look for one in the Nolan Ryan cookbook. I'm flipping through the pages and come across the "Cajun Burger" recipe and fell in love.

We cut the portions to only make 2 burgers, but mixed the ground beef, pre-cooked bacon, 1 egg and his cajun and steak seasonings.

Nolan Ryan's Cajun Seasoning
2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp celery seed
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder

Nolan Ryan's Steak Seasoning
3 Tbsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp paprika

To go with the burgers, we did a foil bomb to go on the grill with potato cubes, some fresh basil from our garden, cheese, and a few other spices.

They cooked on medium to high heat for 30 minutes or so until done.

These were some of the best flavored burgers we've ever had. They were so good, I used the seasoning recipes for The Everything American Burger takes on Bobby Flay.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Everything America Burger takes on Bobby Flay

The Everything American burger came to life thanks to a burger Throwdown on the BBQ Brethren. The Everything American burger didn't just challenge the Throwdown greats on the Brethren, it beat the great cooks of the BBQ Brethren.

The Everything American burger has lived in its glory for 2 and 1/2 years, and when Dawn told me that Bobby Flay and Food Network had put out a burger challenge ... I knew it was time for a Throwdown With Bobby Flay.

I started by dicing a quarter onion and green pepper.

Fried off 2 slices of thick cut bacon.

Beat 1 egg (not beaten in the picture).

We went to one of our favorite shops in Myrtle Beach over Labor Day weekend, and I just had to get this coozie. It's cool and it's from the year I was born, so I had to get it.

Mixed the diced onions and peppers, beaten egg, Nolan Ryan's Cajun and Steak seasoning, and ground beef and patted them out into 1/4lb patties.

Because a real man doesn't need a burger press/mold ... I add the bacon and pieces of pepper jack cheese and then lay the extra patty on top and press the edge closed all the way around.

It was really hard to stay outside and grill these burgers while this little guy was knocked out on the chair. I mean, come on, you know you want to just lay down beside him and snuggle up with him ...

Ok, put my man pants back on ...

To finish off the Everything American, I added more pepper jack cheese and peppered bacon to the top, and then even topped that off with some BBQ pork with Habanero Hot sauce. All of that went on a King's Hawaiian bun.

The original Everything American burger, was amazing, but this Everything American burger with the Nolan Ryan seasonings, only the Habanero Hot sauce, and the King's Hawaiian bun instead of the glazed doughnut, was the best burger I've ever eaten. Whether it wins the Bobby Flay challenge or not, there's nothing they can put out there than will beat this burger.