Best Dang Bacon Wrapped Meatballs Ever

Meatballs are fun to make and are easy to cook on a grill.

Wrapping them in bacon and coating them with Tabasco Pepper Jelly just makes them ridiculous.  Ridiculous makes me happy.

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Meatballs

There are thousands of recipes for meatballs out there and you probably already have your favorite.  Making meatballs is a great reason to break out your meat grinder.

If you don’t have a “go to” meatball recipe yet then check out these Killer Meatballs from The Mountain Kitchen.

Pile of meatballs

Start with a pile of meatballs.

Lay each one out on a strip of bacon.

Yeah…you already knew how to do this.  I just wanted to post this picture 🙂

Meatball with bacon

Wrap the bacon around the meatball and secure it with a toothpick.

I will usually dust the bacon with a little chili powder and brown sugar.

Place the bacon wrapped meatballs on a grill with indirect heat.  I bank the coals on the left side of my grill and cook the meatballs on the right side.  You wont get any flare ups from dripping bacon grease using indirect heat.

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Meatballs

Let the meatballs grill for about 30 minutes and then start basting them with some Tabasco Pepper Jelly that has been melted in the microwave.

Pepper Jelly

Give the meatballs another five minutes or so and pull them off the grill once they hit an internal temperature of 160F.

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Meatballs

These were gooooood!



Ultimate Grilled Chicken Wings

After years of trying I finally cracked the code and discovered the secret to grilling the Ultimate Wings on my kettle.


I am sharing this technique as a Public Service Announcement for all of your Wing Fanatics out there.

The biggest problem I have had with grilling chicken wings has always been getting a proper crispy skin. The crunch on the skin is important to me and, until now, the only way I have been able to get it properly crispy was through deep frying.

I am not going to bore you with all of the ways I have failed in my efforts to make crispy wings on the grill.  Let’s jump into the two tricks that were critical for these to be such a success.

Baking Powder

The folks over at Serious Eats developed the technique of giving the wings a light coating of baking powder and letting the wings dry in the refrigerator overnight.

I am not sure exactly why baking powder promotes crispy skin but it works.

Toss your wings with 1 tsp of baking powder and 1 tsp of salt per pound of wings.  Place the wings on a drying rack and let them chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Here is what they will look like the next day.


High Heat Rotisserie Grilling

The next trick was to grill the wings at really high temperatures without them burning.

You can try doing doing the High Heat by grilling the wings in the middle of  a three zone kettle but my results were sub-par. (A three zone kettle has a fire banked on both sides of the grill and no coals in the center.)

If you try grilling them directly over the coals you are just going to burn the skin.

My approach was to load the wings into a rotisserie basket and spin them beside a VERY hot fire.


You can clamp the wings into the basket quite easily and not worry about them falling out.

For the hot fire I filled the Slow N Sear about half way full with lit Kingsford.

Here is what the wings looked like after 30 minutes.


Just look at how the bubbly fat is crisping up the skin!!


The high heat really sped up the cooking process and the wings were finished after 30 minutes.

The wings easily come out of the grilling basket.

IMG_5092 These guys had a serious “crunch factor’!

I am always playing around with my sauce recipes.  Right now this is what I am using:

Pretty Good Wing Sauce (Combine and microwave for 1 minute)

  • 2 Tablespoons margarine
  • 2 Tablespoons sriracha
  • 3 Tablespoons Kikoman Orange Sauce
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Spicy, tasty and crunchy. Mmmmmmm.


Give this a try sometime.  You will be glad you did.


Pretty Awesome Brisket Dry Rub

I’ve been hitting the briskets pretty hard these days.


Life has been good and brisket makes me happy.

There hasn’t been anything remarkable about the cooks.  I have been smoking them up on my kettle and pulling them off the pit when they are probe tender.

Man I love burnt ends!


I have been playing around with a few commercial brisket rubs and think I have settled on Plowboy’s Bovine Bold.

Brisket Rub
A Pretty Nice Brisket Rub!

This stuff has won some awards on the competition circuit and is widely acknowledged as one of the best commercial brisket rubs available.

Now that I have my dry rub and general technique dialed in I am going to try playing with some brisket injections and see if I can get this thing to the next level.

I hope all of you cool cats out there are living large and having a great time on your pits!



Craycort Grates: Steak Two Ways

Steak is a glorious thing.

It makes me happy that I am living in such circumstances that choosing between a Ribeye and a Porterhouse is a dilemma.

Craycort Grill Marks

I went with the Porterhouse.

Steaks have been flying off the grill recently as a way of breaking in a set of Craycort cast iron grill grates.

The Craycort cast iron grate is a nice addition to my Weber kettle.  I truly believe these grates will last a lifetime.

The Craycort grate does a nice job of providing grill marks.  It’s strange though…most of the grill marks get “washed out” when I finish the steaks by moving them to the cool side of the grill for the last few minutes of cooking.

Porterhouse Steak on Craycort Grates

That picture makes me happy.

Finished Steak

One of the nice parts about the Craycort grates is that they are modular and have different insets available.  One available insert is a cast iron griddle.

I have been using lump charcoal and getting the griddle pretty toasty.

Craycort Cast Iron Griddle

This griddle can do some searing.

Searing Steak

When you are working with cast iron this hot you have to work quick.  Two and a half minutes and then flip.

Sear and Smoke

Baste with some melted butter, wait another two and a half minutes and the steak is done.

Steak with Butter

The seared crust gives a flavor profile that is very different (in a good way!) from a traditional grilled steak.

Sliced porterhouse steak

So which way is the best way to grill a Porterhouse steak?

I asked an impartial taste tester to give me his professional opinion.

Official Taste Tester

He never really gave me a definitive answer but we had a great time experimenting together.

Other inserts available for the grate are a solid cast iron wok and a perforated cast iron vegetable wok.

Fun stuff!



Yardbird on the Grill

I’ve been experimenting with different versions of grilled spatchcock chicken.

Writing about spatchcock chicken makes me happy because it always reminds me of my buddy, Spatch.

IMG_2409I start with a chimney of lit charcoal spread evenly across the bottom grate.


Place the chicken bone side down over the coals.  I prepped this chicken with an injection of apple juice, salt, sugar and hot sauce.

IMG_2397Close the lid and let the Weber work its magic.


After about 45 minutes the bird will be mighty pretty.

IMG_2405Flip the bird over to crisp up the skin a little.

IMG_2407There is some charring on the bottom of the bird but the rib cage pretty much protects all the meat.


Yep..this bird turned out just fine.

If you are looking for more chicken ideas check out these grilled chicken fajitas from The Mountain Kitchen!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.