By Charlie Rymer
I’ve gotten a lot of TV, radio, and writing assignments over the years, covering major championships to celebrity interviews to lots of great destinations. Most of the time, the assignment has something to do with golf. I’m happy to talk and write golf. But … if you really wanna fire me up, get me going on BBQ. You’d better have some time if you ask me a question about pork butt or brisket!
While I’m not a trained BBQ expert, it’s a serious passion. And in this arena, I’d guess I’m the equivalent of a 5 handicap. One of the biggest thrills I’ve had in television is the chance to talk with Bobby Flay. He is amazing at his job (especially if you like peppers, and I do!). One of my biggest disappointments is when Emeril Lagasse came on my TV show and I was on assignment that week. That dude is my HERO. I still can’t believe I missed the chance to interview Emeril. I was sad for a month.
With all that said, you can imagine my excitement when I was asked to take this particular assignment off the golf course, run with a post-round theme, and go over my top 3 BBQ recipes!
I’m gonna break it down this way: I’m the proud owner of a Big Green Egg, Traeger pellet grill, and conventional Weber gas grill. I love all three and use them each for different purposes. But for this piece I’m gonna focus on the top three things I like to cook on my Big Green Egg. I’ll refer to it as the BGE. So let’s get after it!
For starters, this is a super-easy recipe for the best appetizer in the history of appetizers. Get your BGE going at 350-375 degrees with your favorite lump charcoal. Add in a few chunks of nice hickory. Use the plate setter for indirect cooking. Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, take about 10 fresh jalapeño peppers and slice them in half lengthwise. Hollow out the peppers to create nice little boats – but be sure to save the white seeds! In a mixing bowl use a package of your favorite shredded cheddar cheese blend and an equal amount of cream cheese. Sprinkle in a generous amount of your favorite multi-purpose dry rub. Add in some of the white seeds from the jalapeños (just how many you add depends directly on how frisky you’re feeling that day. I add all of them, but I’m fairly frisky most of the time!). Mix thoroughly.
All aboard! Fill up the boats with the cheese mixture. Be generous. Now take thick cut bacon (that’s right, bacon) and wrap it around your happy little boats. Coat generously with plain panko. Place on the cooking grate and cook for approximately two beers (That’s roughly 25-30 minutes). Enjoy!
Next, let’s talk turkey. I love me some turkey! Cooking it up on the BGE is BY FAR the best way to go. I don’t have anything against traditional turkey, but … give this recipe a try and you’ll give me a hug when you see me in person.
Track down a fresh boneless turkey breast (frozen will do in a pinch). Remove the butcher netting and set that breast free! Now for the fun part: create a lattice of bacon. Weave your favorite thick cut bacon into a beautiful pork blanket. Dust up that turkey with your favorite Cajun seasoning. Luxuriate it with the bacon sheet and tuck the loose part under the breast. Cook on the BGE at 350 degrees (give or take) on indirect heat using the plate setter and a drip pan filled with water.
Use your favorite lump charcoal and a few chunks of cherry wood in the mix. Cook until the internal temperature is 165. Cook time varies based on breast size (ha), altitude, humidity, attitude, solar flares, and tidal cycle, but I’d plan on close to two hours. Allow to sit for 30 minutes covered loosely with foil. Carve with an electric knife. Enjoy it when your friends call you brilliant.
Finally, let’s get to the staple of the BGE: the smoked Boston Butt. This recipe actually falls into the “Pre- and Post-Round Perfection” category, so pay close attention! The BGE makes the best pulled pork in the history of the world. It seems complicated, but it’s actually easy. Mix chunks of hickory in the firebox with your favorite lump charcoal. Fire that baby up and let her rip! It can get to more than 1,000 degrees (which is good, because you need to kill all the critters that live in your BGE from time to time). Soak three handfuls of hickory chips in water for at least 30 minutes. Prepare the pork with a generous slathering of yellow mustard (be sure to do this even if you don’t like mustard). Coat the butt on all sides with a lot more of your favorite butt rub than you think is necessary. The mustard holds the rub during the cook and creates a “bark” that is loaded with flavor.
Now, let’s head out to the BGE. Have everything ready because you’ve gotta move fast in this step. Burp the BGE and place the hickory chips directly on the magma that now exists in your fire box. Quickly drop in the plate setter. Set a drip pan of water on the plate setter. Place the cooking grate and throw down the butt (fatty side up). Throttle the BGE way back and watch the smoke flow. The soaked chips will add flavor for the first 30 minutes and create a smoke ring you’ll see when you pull the pork after the cook. Let the temperature settle in at around 250 degrees and head for the golf course.
You can have a few beers after golf and then a long nap with this one, as cook time will be in the 8-12 hour range. You want that internal temp to be 195-200 degrees before you pull the meat. I suggest a product called Meater for temperature probes. It’s WiFi enabled and allows you to monitor your cook from anywhere. The probe gives you internal and ambient temperatures, and the app estimates the finish time on the cook. After letting the butt rest for 30 minutes, pull it from the bone with a couple of forks. I suggest serving the meat on a sesame seed bun with slaw and a sweet heat BBQ sauce – but go easy on the sauce, because you don’t want to totally cover up the flavor of this meat!
With my three favorite BGE recipes, it’s not a science. Experiment – and don’t get mad when you make a double bogey. Take ownership of your recipes, and as always: they are best enjoyed with friends.