California Club Chicken Burger

I was inspired to make these things by a California club sandwich I had at a restaurant.  I know it is not a true club because I am not using turkey but the chicken really works here.  This is plenty for about 6-8 burgers.

6-8 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
1lb bacon
1 lrg tomato
½ head of lettuce
6-8 slices of havarti cheese
6-8 Kiser buns
16 tbsp guacamole
BBQ sauce
Start by putting a layer of tinfoil over the top rack of your BBQ.  Lay the bacon on the tinfoil.  Fire up your BBQ and let the bacon cook on med to med low heat for about 15-20 mins.  This is a good time to make your guacamole.  Check out this post for my homemade guac.  Be sure to keep checking the bacon every 5 mins or so.  You want it to be crispy but not burnt.  Remove the bacon and set it aside.  Turn the heat up to med high.  Be sure to oil your grill before cooking chicken.  Because it has less fat I find it sticks easier.  Put your chicken on the grill and brush with the BBQ sauce.  You want to turn the chicken about every 5-6 minutes (that means about 10 mins a side).  Be sure not to burn it but always cook your chicken well.  After you flip the chicken, brush the exposed side with more BBQ sauce.  About 2 mins before removing the chicken, place a slice of cheese on each breast.  Once you have removed the chicken you are ready to build the burger.  On the bottom half of the bun, scoop on about 2 tbsp of guac.  Place the chicken breast on the guac.  Put two strips of bacon (each cut in half so you end up with 4 pieces) on the chicken.  On the top half of the bun, spread some mayo.  Then place the lettuce and the tomato on the mayo.  I personally like to keep the tomato closest to the meat.  Close the burger!  Server with some nice salads and LOTS of napkins!  If you have leftover bacon, use them as bacon bits in a ceaser salad.  If you have left over guacamole, sever it on the side with some chips!

It is all greek to me

I have been making my pseudo Greek meal for a while now and we really like it.  It has 3 basic parts:

Greek Salad, Greek Potatoes and Greek Chicken

Now I am not Greek, I have never been to Greece and I don’t study Greek cuisine.  I just make Greek inspired food.  Ok let’s start with the salad.

Brad’s Greek Salad:

1 lrg        Long English Cucumber
2 lrg        Green Peppers
1 lrg        Coloured Pepper (red, yellow or orange)
1 lrg        Tomatoes
½ cup    Greek Olives
1 med   Red Onion
½ cup    Crumbled Feta Cheese

½ cup    Olive Oil
½ cup    Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp    Lemon Juice
1 tsp      Oregano
2              Cloves of Garlic (crushed)
½ tsp     Salt
½ tsp     Pepper

Dice all the salad fixings into bite sized (2 cm) chunks.  Throw them all in a large bowl.  Mix all the dressing ingredients in an air tight container.  Shake well.  Pour about half of the dressing onto the salad and toss well.  You can add more dressing as you like or save it for the next time.  It will keep for about a week no problem.  Your salad is done.

Greek-style Potatoes:

1lb          Baby Potatoes
3              Cloves of Garlic (minced)
2 tsp      Oregano
2tbsp     Lemon Juice
Olive Oil

Pre-heat your oven to 450.  Wash and halve the potatoes.  Place them in a baking pan cut side down.  Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil.  Drizzle the lemon juice over the potatoes.  Spread the minced garlic over the potatoes.  Sprinkle the oregano over the potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Throw the potatoes into the oven for about 30 minutes.  Serve with sour cream or tzatziki.

Greek Chicken:

2-3          Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2tbsp     Lemon Juice
½ tsp     Oregano
2-3          Cloves of Garlic (minced)
Salt & Pepper

Place the chicken in a shallow dish.  Drizzle half of the lemon juice on side A.  Spread half the garlic on side A.  Sprinkle half the oregano on side A.  Season side A with salt and pepper.  Flip the chicken over and repeat.  Set chicken aside and prep your grill.  Preheat your BBQ on high.  After about 5 minutes clean the grill with your grill brush, turn the heat down to about med-high and brush the grill with olive oil.  Throw chicken on the grill and cook with the lid closed for 5 minutes.  Turn chicken 45 degrees and cook (lid closed) for another 5 minutes.  Turn chicken over and cook (with lid closed) for another 5 minutes.  Turn the chicken 45 degrees and cook the last 5 minutes.  Remove chicken from the grill and serve.

So that is how I put together a Greek-like meal.  Please post comments about your favorite Greeky-type food.

How I cook a steak

I generally get called to the grill to cook steaks at family functions.  I have to admit I do enjoy it.  Doing a steak correctly is something I am proud of.  I am going to talk about how I prepare and cook steaks.  There are two parts; the marinade and the grilling.

Ideally you want your steaks to marinate for 12-24 hours but if you are rushed then as much time as you can give it.  The marinating technique comes from church BBQs my Dad would help put on.  We would apply this technique across over 100 steaks.  It was a lot of meat.  You will need the following ingredients.  This is broken down on a per-steak level:

2tsp Meat tenderizer
4tsp Garlic powder (NOT GALRIC SALT!)
2tsp Ground pepper
4tbp Red wine

Sprinkle side ‘A’ of the steak with the tenderizer, garlic powder and pepper.  You do not have to stick to exactly the measurements I have listed.  If you like more garlic or pepper go right ahead and add it.  Also, adjust the tenderizer based on how long you have to marinate the meat.  The long the marinating time the less tenderizer you need.  This measurement would be for a 4-8 hour marinade.  I don’t recomend using salt in a marinade.  It can dry out the meat.

Using 2 forks prick the entire side of the steak.  Use one fork to hold the meat and the other to stab it all over.  This helps inject the spices into the meat, tenderize the meat, and draw in more marinade.  Repeat both of these steps on side ‘B’

After you have pricked and seasoned the steak, place it in a study zip-lock bag.  Pour the wine into the bag.  Without spilling the wine, try to remove as much air as possible from the bag before you seal it.  Set the bag in the fridge ‘B’ side down.  Make sure to flip the steak a few times while it marinates.

I like to grill my steaks to a medium-rare so that is what I am going to share with you.  Turn your BBQ high and let it heat up for about 5-10 minutes.  Scrap the grill using a BBQ brush.  Normally you don’t need to grease the grill for steaks but it is a useful trick for chicken or fish.  Take a paper towel, fold it over a few times and dip it in some oil (I use olive oil).  Being very careful not to burn yourself, wipe the grill with the oil.  After you have prepared the grill, close the lid and let it heat up again for a few minutes.

Theses cooking times are for steaks that are about an inch or so thick.  You will have to adjust slightly for thicker or thinner steaks.  I cook my steaks for 2-3 minutes per turn on high heat.  That means I cook them like this:  Put the steaks on the grill for 2-3 minutes.  Turn the steaks 45 degrees and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Flip the steaks over and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Turn the steaks 45 degrees and cook for 2-3 minutes.  If you are going to apply BBQ sauce, do it as soon as you put the steaks on the grill and once again after the flip.

Once you have the meat off the grill set it aside, cover it with tin-foil and let it rest for about 2-3 minutes.  This helps seal in the juices.

So that is how I cook a steak.  Give it a try next time you fire up the grill.  Please let me know how it goes.  I am always looking for feedback.