Dry Chili Rubbed Smoked Wings

Dry Chili Rubbed Smoked Wings

It’s that season where I just slide open the patio door and turn up the grill. Even though the weather is trying to find its season. I really love smoked flavor, and have experimented with various ways throughout the years to replicate it, without a proper smoker. The other day at Home Depot, I just gave in and made Certain Someone purchase a Weber Smoker Box and bag of pecan wood. It will have to do until I convince him to get me the Big Green Egg, which I’m coveting after using at a clients home. I’m patient. The smoker box really is effective and proves you can get great flavor with a gas grill. It’s just about technique.

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Meat Fest BBQ at Coco Cooks

As I mentioned in the last post, I now have an amazing Weber Genesis grill. As a charcoal grill type of gal I was a little worried about the results of using gas. But our new home owner association only allows gas grills. So Certain Someone and I invited the guys who helped us move and the lovely Chicago newcomer and fellow food blogger Esi over  for a little BBQ. This was our 2nd gathering since we moved in. The first one was for my family. And I’m in the midst of planning a more formal like dinner for Certain Someones partners and business associates  soon.

Here is what I served up. The photos were an afterthought as we just wanted to dig in to the food.



I cured  this  corned beef brisket for about 3 weeks  and slow roasted it on the grill with indirect heat for a total of six hours. A nice crust formed and it sliced up beautifully after roasting. The only way to go with corned beef in my opinion. This was the all around favorite. It could stand alone or be topped off with sauerkraut and Russian dressing.


Naturally this half German household can not have a BBQ without beer bathed Bratwurst. I sourced my brats from Peoria Meat Market ( they sell long rolls of uncut brats frozen and fresh made in-house) and boiled them up in Franziskaner Weissbier first then finished up on the grill with periodic splashes of more beer.  We served these on Pretzel buns and a choice of mustard’s and sauerkraut.

Lighter fare of Old Bay Shrimp tossed in olive oil and generous amounts of Old Bay. Then skewered and grilled.  Chicken breast tenders  marinated in a quick pesto I made with some crushed walnuts, cilantro, parsley, garlic, lime  and olive oil. I adapted this recipe from a Weber cookbook.

Certain cuts of meat intimidate me but I feel I seared this up to perfection.  Outer skirt steak , cleaned and trimmed,rubbed in cumin, chili, paprika, garlic , kosher salt , pepper and some oil.  Marinated a few hours  and seared for approx five minutes on each side.  Cut the pieces with the grain in 4 inch cuts, and then slice thinly against the grain.  Served with Chimichurri sauce.

Assorted charred veggies marinated in balsamic , olive oil, and herbs.

A variation of my favorite recipe from Plenty. Winter Slaw. I use honey sesame , lime, sesame oil, red chili flakes, etc for a fab dressing tossed over red  cabbage and Nappa/ and or white cabbage, mango and chopped candied nuts. Certain Someone loves it.

Red, yellow and blue mini potatoes, boiled and scooped out a bit. Topped with sautéed Crimini mushrooms cooked down with cognac and sage and topped with sour cream. I adapted this recipe from a small great cookbook called 5o Great Appetizers. I have served them for catered events and love to use the multi colored potato medley I find in my Restaurant Depot. If time permits top with a leaf of fried sage.

I also grilled up pineapple and made a batch of the worst cookies ever which I threw together. They were dry puffy chocolate chip and dried cherry . However not bad the day after dunked in coffee. I cant wait to experiment some more on the grill which will become my outdoor summer kitchen as the temps rise in Chicago. Naturally we have leftover for days. I envision some pineapple fried rice with the shrimp and chicken as Certain Someone polishes off the corned beef brisket.



Kentucky Pulled Pork

I like to call this Kentucky Pulled Pork. The recipe was given to me by a genuine Kentuckian, Mel Doerr. Now Mel is what I would like to call my spiritual adviser, who I have consulted with for years. His intuition and instinct are always been dead on, so naturally I trust his recipe. He gave me this recipe for a crock pot style slow cooked pulled pork ,handed down from his grandmother.What makes it true Kentucky Pulled Pork is that shot ( or two ) of Bourbon you are going to add.Yes sir, Bourbon! No need to slave over an open pit barbecue, turn on that crock pot this summer and save some electricity while staying cooler in the process. Mel also mentioned his coleslaw, but didn’t provide a formal recipe. The draw to his coleslaw was pineapple. Pineapple and Pork are always delicious. This recipe is really easy. Yes it takes approx two days with marination and cooking, but it’s worth it and wont cause you a lot anxiety in preparation. It practically cooks itself!


Kentucky Pulled Pork

*time preparation approx 2 days. 10 hours slow cooking.

  1. Marinate all ingredients over night in a non reactive food grade container with lid.
  2. Place in Crock Pot with a little extra liquid (water) and set for 10 hours.I also added an optional few drops of liquid smoke toward the end of cooking.
  3. Serve with coleslaw.

Coleslaw With Pineapple

  • 1 head of cabbage shredded
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 small can of crushed pineapple with its syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 carrot grated
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Start with the 1/2 cup of Mayonnaise and add more as needed. You don’t want your slaw too runny.
  2. Adjust to taste
  3. Chill and let set for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator