Posted on Leave a comment

Rec Tec 700 Pellet Smoker Full Review

rec tec 700 smoker review

I purchased the new Rec Tec 700 about 4 months a go, after searching for the best pellet smoker under $1500.  There are so many pellet smokers out there, it can be a real chore to narrow down your final choices.  In the end, I narrowed my choices down to three pellet grills:

What drove my decision towards purchasing the Rec Tec 700 pellet smoker was the strong loyalty that all Rec Tec owners have towards their Rec Rec Smokers.  I have had so many comments on my YouTube Channel videos about the quality of the product itself and the amazing response they get from their customer service team at Rec Tec. Many people have even had the owners themselves respond to their questions during the weekend.  Definitely a team of people that care about their products and the people who use them.

The other strong items that drove me towards purchasing the Rec Tec 700 were the Overall Design and Looks of the Pellet Smoker, the rave reviews of the Temperature Controller, and the 40 lb pellet capacity of the pellet hopper.  You can view my initial impressions of the Rec Tec 700 below or on my youtube channel.

After 4 months of use, let me tell you the best and worst things about the Rec Tec 700 Pellet Smoker, so you can make your own decision on whether to purchase the grill.

Searching for your next Grill to complete your backyard?  You can download my Grill Buying Guide below…. featuring my top selections for all grilling and smoking categories! 

Download my Grill Buying Guide

The Best Things about the Rec Tec 700

Sleek and Fun Design

This was a primary driver for my decision to purchase the grill.  This grill is bad ass and looks great on your patio.  The integrated bull horns on the front look great and the design of the Pellet Hopper is real sleek.  I love the way the hopper is hidden behind the grill, so all you see is the front of the grill, which looks great.  This was important to me, as I knew I wanted to build a grill table for my pellet grill.  You can check out the grill table I built here.

Overall Quality of the Build

The Rec Tec 700 is a tank! This thing is built to last and is built out of thick steel and stainless steel parts.  They put their name and money on the line with the quality of the build too, as it comes with a 6 Year Warranty!  I recommend having a friend around when you put this pellet smoker together, as it is real heavy. I kind of threw my back out when lifting it up into position.  Very sturdy build.

Huge Hopper Capacity

You cannot beat a 40 lb pellet hopper capacity.  This hidden pellet hopper is huge!  From my approximations, you could smoke for 36 hours straight before running out of pellets!  Fire that sucker up on a Friday afternoon and you would be good until Sunday morning… wow!

large pellet capacity of the rec tec pellet smoker

Quality Thick Stainless Steel Cooking Grates

I love that it comes with high quality cooking grates that should last virtually forever.  A lot of companies cheap out on this part and make the customer replace the grill grates 2 years later as they become a rusty mess.  These should last a very long time.

Temperature Controller is Top Notch

I absolutely love this temperature controller.  It is accurate as adavertised, but the best part is the ability to calibrate the temperature to your desired temperature monitor.  So, if your ThermoWorks probe is reading 10 degrees higher than the grill is reading on its monitor, you can calibrate it to your trusted temperature gauge.  I was not aware of this feature when I purchased it, but this is a game changer for me.

rec tec temperature controller

Zero Operational Issues or Problems

I have had zero operation issues with this grill.  No issues with the pellets feeding and no issues with it burning out at any point.  It maintains temperature rock solid and does what it is supposed to do.  Works great, like it should!

The Wireless Rec Tec App

When I first purchased the Rec Tec 700, the app was not that great.  However, they have made huge improvements and now it is one of the strong points of the grill.  You can turn on your smoker withe the app, you can change temperature easily, and it gives you alerts when you hit temperature limits or if the temperature is reading high or low from the set point.  I now love this app!

The Worst Things about the Rec Tec 700 Pellet Grill

No Hopper Chute to Empty the Hopper

This one is not a deal breaker for me, as I do not switch up the pellet “flavor” or type of wood very frequently.  If you love to experiment with different types of wood frequently, then this could be a potential reason to look elsewhere.

No Integrated 2nd Shelf for a 2nd Grill Grate

This is the one feature I really think this grill should have.  At at $1200 price point, I really think there should be an integrated shelf or at least an integrated bracket for a 2nd shelf.  Currently, you can purschase a second shelf that stands right on top of the main shelf.  Definitely an oversight for me and the one improvement I would love to see on future grills from Rec Tec.

It takes a long time to achieve higher temperatures

This large smoker takes a real long time to heat up to high temperatures.  If you are looking to grills steaks or burgers on this grill, you should know that it takes 20-30 minutes to heat up to to 450°F.  I have reverse seared a few ribeyes on this grill, and it it takes quite a while to get it done with that long ramp up time.

Light Smoke Flavor

The smoker flavor from Pellet Smokers can be underwhelming, depending on your preference of how much smoker flavor meat should have.  This is true for the Rec Tec 700 as well.  Ideally, I wish it would give a little more smoker flavor to the meat.  If you have a charcoal smoker or a stick burner, you should know that this will not give you the same results.  The results are not bad… but there is definitely less smoke flavor in the meat.

Should you Purchase the Rec Tec 700?

This is a personal choice, but I have had a lot of fun with my Rec Tec 700.  Before I had a child, I did not see the reason to have a pellet grill, but now I love the convenience of having a pellet smoker.  This smoker really is the ultimate in convenience and performance.  It maintains temperatures accurately and has the ability to calibrate to your desired temperature, which I feel makes this smoker stand apart from some of the other pellet smokers out there.  Combine that with the thoughtful design and it is certainly one of the best backyard pellet smokers out there.

My favorite things I have cooked on the Rec Tec 700 are St. Louis Pork Ribs and Smoked Pork Butt.  It seems to really do well with high fat content cuts, such as the ribs and pork shoulders.  I have also cranked out some pretty good wings with little effort.  That is the best thing about the Rec Tec… it is just super easy to use and produce quality food.

Is it worth $1200?  I would say yes. I think the quality and the long 6 year warranty justify the price tag.  I know this costs too much for some, but I do feel it is a good value given the high quality build. If you are looking for a lower priced smoker, they also have smaller smoker options with the same high quality temperature controller.  There are also a number of charcoal smokers under $300 or so that give amazing results too.  You can check out my top charcoal smokers under $300 here.

Check out all my Rec Tec 700 videos on my youtube channel here.

Posted on 15 Comments

Rec Tec 700 Grill Cart Plans to Class up Your Smoker

how to build a grill cart table for the rec tec 700

Why Build a Grill Table for your Rec Tec? 

If you love using your Rec Tec 700 and want to upgrade the look and feel of your Rec Tec Bull, then this DIY Rec Tec 700 Grill Cart might be the project for you. You can build this grill table in about a weekend’s time and it should last for many years of backyard BBQ fun. If you want detailed plans for this Rec Tec 700 Grill Cart, you can buy them right here.

I purchased the Rec Tec 700 for the look and the performance, but I wanted to take the look and function up a notch. I did not enjoy the small side table it comes attached with and did not want to spend nearly $200 for the front table accessory. After looking online for possible grill carts to build for a built-in look, I really did not find anything out there. So, this compact grill table is my solution. The convenience of the Rec Tec 700 Bull is taken to a new level, with tons of storage.

If you would rather watch a video on the build of this Rec Tec Table, you can check out my YouTube video below:

Tools & Hardware Needed?

I have built a number of grill tables for Pellet Smokers and Big Green Eggs.  There are some tools, fasteners, and hardware that make the job fun and easy.  The basic tools needed are:  circular saw, jig saw, power drill, clamps, measuring tape, and carpenters square.  If you want to see my detailed list of preferred tools, fasteners, and favorite hardware, download my Grill Table Tools & Resources guide below…

Download my Full Grill Table Tools & Resources Guide

Rec Tec Grilling Cart Dimensions

The foot print of this grill cart is 6’9″ x 2’9″, which is relatively compact for the size of the grill. It has counter space on each side of the grill and has tons of storage underneath for Pellets, Grill Grates, and temperature monitors. The height is close to 36″ tall, which is the standard countertop height for kitchens. 

The best way to show you how to build this grill table is to show you pictures of different progress points along the way.  It is framed out of pine and then trimmed out with cedar material for all the sides and countertop as well. It came out beautiful after staining the sides and sealing the counter.

rec tec table frame
This is the basic structure of the Rec Tec Grill Cart. 2 x 4 framing with plywood used for the shelving floors. Aluminum flashing used for a barrier between the smoker and the middle shelf.
rec tec table frame with rec tec 700
Another view of the basic framing for the Rec Tec 700 Grill Table. I used the Kreg Pocket Hole Jig for some connections of the framing to make it easy. The "sled" of the left if for the odd shaped rec tec temperature controller unit.
This is the vertical cedar tongue and grove siding installed, prior to staining the vertical components
rec tec table with trim work
Before mounting the doors, I stained the sides with an oil based stain and sealed the countertop with a water based sealer
The finished Rec Tec 700 Grill Table! Stained, sealed, and ready to Smoke some meat!
side view of rec tec table
rec tec table back with siding
This is how gorgeous the cedar siding looks after staining it with a clear oil based stain!

I hope you found all of these images useful and perhaps a source of inspiration to build your own grill table.  I have built a number of different Grill Tables for Big Green Eggs in the past, and have found this Rec Tec Grill Table just as useful to hold all of my grilling supplies provide a lot more counter space.  If you want detailed plans, you can purchase them right here.

Finishing Products and Hardware for the Rec Tec Grill Table

Penofin Penetrating Oil Finish for the siding, trim, and doors.  This also works for the countertop if you do not care if the finish is glossy.  You can find all of the hardware and tools I used for the build on my Grill Table Hardware Purchasing Lists in my Tools & Resource Guide Below…

Download my Full Grill Table Tools & Resources Guide

Posted on 2 Comments

Big Green Egg Table Plans for a Compact Modern Table

complete build of a modern green egg table cart

When I decided to move my big green egg closer to the house, I had to come up with a new Big Green Egg Table to fit the smaller space, provide some storage, and look somewhat modern to compliment the overall look I am going for in the backyard.  After hours of drawing up plans, I finally pulled the trigger to build this beautiful new addition to my backyard. During the process I also developed detailed Big Green Egg Table Plans for Large and XL sized Green Eggs.

If you are looking to build your own Big Green Egg Table, this one is pretty easy to build and looks great too.  And… I have developed detailed plans for both the Large and XL sized eggs.  And if you own a medium, you could easily modify the plans for the large sized egg.  CLICK HERE to see ALL of my Grill Table Plans currently Available.  If you are not sure which one to buy, I sell all of them packaged together for one low price.

Tools Required to Build the Big Green Egg Table

The build itself was quite easy with the right tools.   I definitely recommend the following tools for this build to get you started:   Miter Saw, Table Saw, Jig Saw, Power Drills and Drill Bits, A variety of clamps, Finish Nail Gun, and Biscuit Joiner

For my complete detailed lists of Tools, Preferred Fasteners, and Favorite Hardware… check out my Grill Table Tools & Resource Guide Below… 

Download my Full Grill Table Tools & Resources Guide

Once you have the proper tools, this build can be done in one full day or split up into 2 days at a more relaxed pace.

Video Showing the Table Build

Building the Frame for the Big Green Egg Table

The first step is to build the frame for the Big Green Egg Table.  I have taken a lot of time to optimize the dimensions of the frame to minimize the table footprint, while still giving you the most storage under the egg.  I chose to use 2×4 Cedar material as cedar holds up well in the outdoors.  You can also use 2×4 pine material to save money if you are keeping your egg table under a canopy.

compact green egg table framing

After you have the frame completed and mounted casters on the bottom of the frame, is is time to build the countertop and assemble the rest of the table..

Countertop Assembly

I chose to use 2 x 8 cedar for the countertop for a very sturdy surface that can be cantilevered past the frame of the table.  I think this detail gives the egg table a distinct look compared to others.  I prepared the 2×8 for glueing by ripping 1/4″ off of each side of the boards to give the joints a nice square appearance. After glueing the countertop, I heavily sanded the countertop and applied an outdoor sealer several times with light sanding in between.  I then cut the hole for the green egg before mounting the countertop to the frame.

countertop glued up out of 2x8 cedar
Big Green Egg Countertop Glued Up and Joined out of 2x8 Cedar Wood
egg table framed with countertop
The Table almost done... just need to add the sides and back to complete it!

Siding Installation and Finishing Touches

After the countertop was mounted I installed 3/16″ tongue and grove siding in a vertical orientation for a modern look on all 3 sides.  Then to finish things off, I custom cut 1×4 and 1×6 cedar material to trim out the front framing of the table.  This part is optional, but makes the table look real sharp.

All of these details can be found in my table plans for the Large or XL Green Egg.  I have sold hundreds of table plans and have received very good feedback from costumers on the details and information found in the plan sets.  All plan sets have full dimensions for every single cut needed and complete lumber and hardware lists.  I am confident these plans will save you time and money. Plans may be purchase below for the Large or XL egg. If you are not sure which one to buy, I sell all of them packaged together for one low price. CLICK HERE to see ALL of my Grill Table Plans currently Available.

Posted on Leave a comment

Crispy Grilled Hot Honey Chicken Wings

chicken wings on the weber kettle vortex
crispy hot honey wings on the grill

If you are like me, you are always looking for a new tasty chicken wing recipe.  Well, I got a good one for you here. I have been addicted to these crispy grilled hot honey chicken wings for the last 6 months, and I still have not gotten enough of them.  What makes this chicken wing recipe so good?  Well, I think it’s the balance of flavor between the salty rub with a punch of herbs and spices balanced with the sweet heat of the Mike’s Hot Honey glaze on top.  Combine those flavors with the most crisp chicken skin I have ever achieved on a grill, tender fall off the bone juicy chicken, and we have ourselves a winner. Let’s get grilling these crispy grilled hot honey chicken wings!

Basic Steps for Grilling Crispy Skin on Chicken Wings

  1. Rinse and dry your chicken
  2. Rub with my secret Salty Herby Chicken Rub
  3. Grill over indirect heat at the high temperature of 500 degrees F.
  4. Turn the chicken every 20 minutes until the skin is very crispy – typically 1 hour or slightly more

Salty Herby Chicken Rub

Coat the rinsed and dry chicken with an even amount of our secret rub.  This rub is on the salty side, so you do not want to cake it on… just a nice even shake.

  • Course Ground Black Pepper 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Sea Salt 2 Tablespoon
  • Sweet Paprika 1 Tablespoon
  • Turmeric 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Coriander 1/4 Tablespoon
  • Cumin 1/4 Tablespoon
  • Thyme 1.5 Tablespoon
  • Oregano 1 Tablespoon
dry rubbed chicken wings for the grill

Grilling Method for Crispy Chicken

Ideally, I would use a Weber Kettle with a Medium Sized Vortex setup.  I was skeptical of the Vortex, but became a believer after my first evening of playing around with it.  The added convection airflow really does make grilling crispy chicken an easy task.  You want the dome temperature in the grill to be around 500 degrees F.  After that, you can place the seasoned chicken on the grill and rotate it every 20 minutes until the chicken is very crispy and has an internal temperature over 165 degrees F.

If do not have a weber kettle with the vortex accessory, then setup whatever grill you have for indirect cooking at a temperature over 450 degrees F.  If you have a weber kettle with out the vortex, then setup your baskets on the outside and get the grill not and hot!

hot honey wings on the weber kettle

Sweet & Hot Honey Glaze

This is a great BBQ Sauce for any pork or chicken.  I developed this glaze for this recipe, but I have found myself using it on ribs a lot too.  So easy to make and it will last a month in the fridge.

Drizzle the glaze over your chicken wings and you are ready to serve the masses.  I think you will absolutely love this recipe.  I am pretty confident you will look like a star if you serve this up to your friends or family at the next backyard outing.  Thanks for checking out the recipe and be sure to share if you like what you see! If you are a chicken wing lover, then you may want to also check out my other chicken wing recipes:

Spicy Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings

Asian Glazed Chicken Wings

Crispy Oven Fried Chicken Wings

(this page contains affiliate links that I make a small commission on if you make a purchase through them)

Posted on 4 Comments

No More Dry Chicken – Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts every time!

grilled chicken

Have you ever experienced painfully dry chicken?  Perhaps cooked by close friends or family… or even yourself? I feel your pain.  I have experienced my fair share of pretty terrible grilled chicken breasts.  Sometimes dry or sometimes rubbery, there are a lot of mistakes people make when grilling chicken breasts.  I am going to fix any errors you might be making with 5 easy steps to take you to Juicy Chicken Breasts every time! 

5 Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts

  1. Slice the chicken breasts in half, making Chicken Cutlets that are about 3/4″ thick
  2. Rinse and dry your Chicken Breasts
  3. Apply a flavorful dry rub with a balanced spice blend. See recipe below for my Secret Chicken & Pork Rub
  4. Marinade the chicken with olive oil and rice vinegar
  5. Sear over high heat, around 550 degrees F,  for 2-3 minutes depending on chicken thickness, until 160 F Internal Temperature.

This Video Shows you The Whole Process

1: Slicing Chicken Breasts in Half

You could call this butterflying the chicken as well.  You really just want to carefully slice the breasts in half to create cutlets that are 3/4″ thick.  Nothing exact here… just making the thickness more uniform and generally more thin to allow a more predictable and shorter grilling session, resulting in Juicy Chicken Breasts! 

butterflying a chicken breast
Working from one side to another, carefully butterfly the chicken breast
halved chicken breast
You can try to leave the butterfly chicken breast as one piece, but I find it easier to handle when sliced all the way through

2: Rinse and Dry your Chicken Breasts

You want to do this anytime you make chicken on the grill or in the oven.  It is sanitary, but also increases the penetration of the rub and marinade.  If you are making dry rubbed skin on chicken, drying your chicken also give you a crispier skin.

3: Apply a Flavorful Rub

This BBQ Rub is great on chicken or pork.  Give it a try… you WILL LOVE IT!  Coat the dry chicken with the rub first and then apply the marinade ingredients.

  • 2 Tablespoons Celery Salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 12 Tablespoons Brown Sugar or Turbinado Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons Ancho Chile
  • 1 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 1/2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

4: Marinade the Chicken for 30 Minutes with Olive Oil & Rice Vinegar

After applying the Rub, coat the chicken with enough Olive Oil to slather both sides of the chicken.  This may be the most important step to create Juicy Chicken Breasts.  You want enough olive oil that the Rub becomes a little saucy.  Then just drizzle a little bit of rice vinegar over chicken and mix together.  This will create a tangy chicken marinade that will develop a nice flavor crust on the outside of the chicken when it hits the hot grill. Marinade for 30 minutes while the grill heats up to 550 F – 650 F.  

5: Grill the Chicken over High Heat at 550 °F or More

Directly from the marinade pan, place the chicken on the hot grill.  Grill the chicken for 2-3 minutes per side.  I often grill the first side for 3 minutes and the second side for 2 minutes if they are nice and thin.  If you use the same setup on your grill every time, you will start to know exactly how long your chicken breasts will take.

chicken breasts on the grill

Let the Chicken Rest for 5 Minutes

Now the hard part… waiting a few minutes to slice up your chicken.  I usually let it rest 5 minutes or longer as I finish up a side dish, such as grilled vegetables.  I hope you give this recipe a try.  I really found it life changing when I figured out how to make awesome chicken breasts.  They are cheap, easy, and tasty… making them a great weeknight meal.  Let me know if you try them out!  If you eat as much chicken as I do, you may want to check out my flavor infused triple BBQ chicken recipe or my Asian Glazed Chicken Wing Recipe.

Posted on Leave a comment

Crispy Oven Fried Chicken Wings

oven fried chicken
crispy oven fried wings

Fried chicken might be one of my top 5 favorite foods.  Sometimes it is something you just have to get right now!  However, it is something I never used to make at home because it makes a huge mess with all the frying oil.  Well, this crispy oven fried chicken recipe changed that for good!  This recipe has been tested on my family and friends, and it is have been a hit.  Zero wings have been left to spare every time I make them.   Maybe because I eat too many… but that’s another story.  It may seem too good to be true, like Jennifer Aniston in a nighty, but crispy oven fried chicken does exist… Give this one a try! 

Tips for Crispy Oven Fried Chicken

  1.  Cook in a temperature range of 400-425 degrees Fahrenheit 
  2.  Coat the chicken once with an egg wash and milk mixture
  3.  Dip the coated chicken into a well seasoned mixture of flour,  corn meal, bread crumbs, and corn starch. You can play with the ratios of these ingredients to find what you like best, or just follow my direction below
  4. Bake on a wire rack for a total of 60 minutes, spraying the dry spots on the chicken with a natural oil sprayer about half way through the cook
oven fried chicken

This process is real easy.  The only tools you might want to invest in prior to making the wings is a natural oil spray mister and a wire rack for a sheet pan. Beyond that, it just takes the right mixture of flour, corn meal, panko bread crumbs, corn starch, and seasonings.  Below you will find step by step instructions and pictures below to take you through making these crispy oven fried chicken wings, and the detailed recipe follows at the end.  Man I love these! 

This is the oil spray mister that I use to make the process easy and low fat… very little oil used.

oil mister
An oil mister / spray bottle is key for this recipe. It ensures all the chicken will get nice and crispy with a light oil spray as needed.
oven fried chicken mix
Chicken breading station setup for action: Egg Wash, Breading with seasoning, and a raised wire rack over a sheet pan.
oven fried chicken seasoning
This is the array of seasonings I used for the breading mixture. Feel free to create your own recipe.
oven fried chicken
Dipped in egg wash and coated in dry flour seasoning mixture, these chicken wings are ready for the oven. 
oven fried chicken
This is what the chicken wings look like half way through.  Spray them with the oil mister where they are still "dry" shown by the light coloring.  Flip the wings, spray any other "dry" spots and then put them back in the oven.
oven fried chicken
The final product right out of the oven.... a beautiful sight! Golden brown deliciousness!
oven fried chicken

Serve the chicken wings right away or in the next few hours after they are done… they stay crispy for a long time, making them an excellent appetizer for company.

Final Thoughts on Oven Fried Chicken

You can experiment with the best cooking temperature for your oven.  What I find works best for my oven is 425 F for 10 min, then I step it down to 400 F for the rest of the cook.  I usually lightly spray them with the oil and flip them at the 35 minute mark and let them go another 20-25 minutes after that.  So… a total cooking time of 55-60 minutes is needed.  You can also use this same recipe for chicken legs and thighs.  As the pieces of chicken get larger, just leave them in the oven a little longer if needed. 

To season the flour mixture, use the specific seasonings I have below in this recipe or use 2-3 tablespoons of other BBQ seasonings.  I always dip my finger in the dry batter and taste it to test the salt and seasoning level.  You want it to be noticeable, but not strong… the seasoning should intensify with a heavy coating on the chicken. 

If you love wings in general, check out my recipes for Crispy Spicy Chicken Wings on the grill or Asian Glazed Wings on the grill.  Both give you tasty sticky crispy wings you will want to make for friends and family. 

Leave me a comment if you try these amazingly crispy wings, right from your own oven.  I still find them a welcome surprise for chicken not out of a fryer. 

Crispy Oven Fried Chicen Wing Recipe

Make delicious oven fried chicken at home with this easy recipe that will satisfy any fried chicken craving

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Chicken Wings cleaned and dried

Dry Batter

  • 2/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 Cup Corn Meal
  • 2/3 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Corn Starch
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tablespoons Smoked Paprika
  • 2.5 tsp Lawrys Seasoning Salt
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tablespoons Coconut Sugar leave out if needed or use sifted light brown sugar

Egg Wash

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/3 Cups Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Peanut or Veg. Oil

Instructions

  1. Turn your oven to 425 F

  2. Wash and dry the chicken

  3. Add egg wash ingredients to a bowl and whisk together.  Add 1/2 cup hot sauce for hot wings. 

  4. Add all dry batter ingredients to a shallow bowl. 

  5. Line your sheet pan with foil and add the wire rack

  6. Add 3-5 wings at a time to the egg wash mixture.  Then transfer to the dry batter mixture.  Coat on all sides.  Shake off excess before placing on the oven rack.  

  7. Bake for 10 min at 425 F

  8. Lower your oven to 400 F and bake for 25 more minutes.   

  9. Remove from oven and spray with olive oil or peanut oil where the flour coating is still dry and light colored. Flip wings and spray as needed to wet the dry spots on the opposite sides of the chicken.  Put back in oven for another 25 minutes or until dark golden brown and crispy.    

Recipe Notes

Substitute 2-3 tablespoons of BBQ seasoning if you want to simplify the process. Try to use something that is more salty than sweet and a little heat is nice. 

If you want your wings hot, double the amount of cayenne in this recipe and then add 1/2 cup of hot sauce to the egg wash mixture. 

Posted on 1 Comment

The Best Easy Chili Recipe from Scratch

the best easy chili recipe

 

the best easy chili recipe

Here in Des Moines, Iowa… Chili season has arrived.  It was 65 degrees and sunny just a week a go before Halloween.  Now just a week later the highs are going to be 35 degrees for the next week!  Chili season is in full effect, and that part of winter I welcome.  It is great to make ahead for weekend meals and is always a great Sunday dinner as well.  This recipe is my favorite chili recipe that I have developed and it is soooo easy, you cannot mess it up.  Give this recipe a shot and you might agree that its the best easy chili recipe you have ever tried.

What Makes a Great Chili?

I like a chili that is meaty, tangy, spicy, all balanced with a rich sauce in the background that makes every bite delicious.  Give it a shot….. if you find a better easy chili recipe than this… leave me a note in my comments section below and I will give it a try myself!

If you want the exact chili recipe I use, then scroll down to the bottom.  First, I want to share my thoughts and beliefs about Chili.  A highly debated subject in some circles of the world… like Texas. In Texas, Chili is a stew with no beans.  Maybe not even vegetables?  Either way, I say most beans and vegetables are welcome in my Chili.  Next, its all about the meat.  I like a blend of several ground meats.  In this recipe we are using ground beef, ground pork, and sweet pork sausage.  I think using two to three types of meat really adds a depth of flavor to the Chili and it is just plain fun to experiment.  Feel free to substitute ground veal, chicken, or turkey for any of these meats.  I do prefer ground meat vs chopped meat for Chili. I just like the texture better.

Other things that make this Chili different from some of the other recipes I find out there, is the combination of spices and the use of chicken stock to develop the rich flavors of this Chili.  To me, Chicken stock works great for Chili.  It does not dominate the flavor profile, unlike Beef Stock which does sometimes take over the flavor of the dish.  The other must have spices I like in Chili, besides common Chili Powder,  are Smoked Paprika, Mexican Oregano, Ground Cumin, and Turmeric.   Emphasis on “Smoked” in the Paprika.  Common Paprika sometimes does not have that undertone of flavor, which is the difference maker.  Turmeric and Mexican Oregano are also spices you will not always find in Chili recipes.  Mexican Oregano adds an herby earthiness to the Chili and Turmeric gives it this background tang that is hard to describe.  The Chili is just plain better when all of these things come together.

Lets Make a Big Ass Batch of Chili

Here are the basic steps for my process of making awesome chili.  If you like things less spicy, just cut the amount of ancho chili powder and jalapeños in half and then add more back in after you taste the final product.  I am not shooting to kill anyone with spiciness, but I do like things on the hot side.  Just note that if you are freezing this for later, it will mellow out over time.  Let me know in the comments below how you like this Chili! The recipe below makes a big pot of chili… I recommend a 12 quart pot.

If you are looking for another spank’n good bowl of love, check out my Chicken Noodle Soup … it cures anything that hits you!  Over the top flavor for a chicken soup.

Thanks for reading – Keegan

the best easy chili recipe
5 from 1 vote
Print

The Best Easy Chili Recipe from Scratch

This is Keegan's go to Chili for the entire winter.  Make a big batch of this and freeze leftovers for many awesome weeknight meals.  The comforting feeling this Chili gives you is for real folks. 

Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, texmex
Keyword Chili, Easy Chili, Homemade Chili
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 12
Author Keegan

Ingredients

Ground Meats

  • 2 lbs Ground Chuck 85/15 or 85/20
  • 1 lb Mild sweet pork sausage
  • 1 lb Ground Pork

Vegetables

  • 3 white onions of medium size Chopped
  • 3 green peppers Chopped
  • 2 Jalapenos Add less depending on desired spiciness
  • 5 Celery Stalks Finely diced
  • 5 Medium Cloves of garlic minced

Dry Spices

  • 10 tablespoons Ancho Chili Powder Start with 6 and then add more if desired
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 5 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Tumeric

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 28 oz cans of Diced Tomatos
  • 1 28 oz can of tomato puree
  • 1 7 oz Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 32 oz Box Chicken Stock
  • 28 oz of Water
  • 2 14 oz medium chili beans - medium spice or Pinto Beans or Black Beans

Optional Fixins

  • 2 tablespoons Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon Sour Cream

Instructions

  1. Put a large pot, I use a 12 quart pot, on medium heat.  Add a few table spoons of olive oil. 

  2. Add the onions, celery, and jalapeno.  Saute for 10 minutes or until translucent. Save the green pepper for later.  

  3. Turn up the heat to medium high and add all of the ground meats.  Add Salt and Pepper.  Stir occasionally until browned throughout. 

  4. Add the garlic and all of the dry spices that are not already in the pot.  Stir in the spices.  Immediately add the tomato paste and stir in rigorously. 

  5. Then add all of the wet ingredients.  Start with the chicken stock and water first, then add all of the others. 

  6. Add the green peppers to the pot 

  7. Bring up to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for 1 hour.  Stir occasionally. 

  8. Ladle any excess fat that has risen to the surface off the top.  Taste the chili to adjust the spice and salt level if needed. 

  9. Serve with any fixin's you typically like.  I love cilantro, so that is my go to herb for chili to give it some brightness. 

Posted on Leave a comment

Smoked Chuck Roast as a Brisket Alternative

sliced smoked chuck roast
smoked chuck roast

If you love a good smoked brisket, then you will love his smaller cousin, smoked chuck roast. I have heard of others smoking different cuts of beef as an alternative to brisket, including chuck roast, and I had to give this a try.  I love brisket, but it can be a large investment of time and money as well.  Usually you are going to pay at least $30 and more likely $50 for a good brisket.  I found this beautiful 2.5 lb chuck roast for $14.  Quite the steal, considering the highly marbled beef that will render down into tender delicious brisket like morsels.

Picking out a Chuck Roast to Smoke

When choosing your chuck roast, look for piece that is very thick and highly marbled with fat.  Most of the fat will disappear over the 10 hours it will take to smoke the chuck roast, so you want a good amount of fat in this cut of meat.  The key is finding awesome marbling, vs large veins or chunks of fat within the chuck roast.  Its OK to have some of the larger pieces of fat, as its hard to avoid… but look for the best cut with the best marbling.  The piece I found was 2.5 lbs, but try to get a thicker cut that is in the 3″ thick range….. giving you a starting weight of 3.5 lbs or more.

chuck roast with marbled fat
chuck roast with marbled fat

Preparing the Chuck Roast for Smoking

Because this is a smaller piece of meat, we are not going to cut any fat off of it.  This is subjective depending on your chuck roast, so make the call that you are most comfortable with.

Next, we are going to season the beef with a salty spicy rub that will soak into the chuck roast as we smoke it for 10 hours over indirect heat. This rub is on the spicier side, but it will mellow out over the duration of the cook.  The end result is nice back end heat with each bite.  If you do not care for any heat at all, then you can omit the jalapeno powder and cayenne pepper.  Either way, season the chuck roast heavily on the top and bottom and less heavily on the sides.

If you are looking for great beef recipes on the big green egg, you might want to check out my Smoked Brisket Recipe or my Smoked Short Ribs Recipe.  Both are worth a try.

Chuck Roast and Brisket Rub Recipe

  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper – Course Grind
  • 2 Tablespoons Ancho Chile Powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
  • 3/4  teaspoon Jalepeno Powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Want more Amazing BBQ Rubs that will take your Backyard BBQ to the Next Level?  Download my favorite Everyday BBQ Rub Recipes below…. 

Download my Free Everyday BBQ Rub Recipe E-book

Coat  the Chuck Roast very generously with the dry rub.  The bigger the cut of meat, the more rub you can apply.  The flavors will mellow over the long cook, so do not be shy with the Rub! 

dry rubbed chuck roast

Smoking the Chuck Roast

To smoke the chuck roast, we are going to use the same method I use to smoke a whole brisket, except step down the temperature to 225 F. For a smaller cut of meat, I think 225 F will keep the beef nice and juicy.  I am using a Large Big Green Egg for this cook, which is my favorite smoker for longer cooks that require more control.  It is also superior at keeping cuts of meat moist throughout the cook.  Whatever you are using, go ahead and get it setup for indirect cooking and 225 F.

Light your charcoal and bring your smoker up to 225 F.  If you have a drip pan in your smoker, pour a can of beer in it to start the cook.  Add one chunk of smoking wood.  For this cook I used Pecan Wood, which worked well.  My other favorites for beef are cherry and oak.  After you add your choice of wood, place your chuck roast on the smoker.

If you prefer watching a video… you can check out this same information on my YouTube Channel below….

Add one more chunk of wood after 1.5 hours, then let the smoker and the charcoal do the rest of the work.

When the bark is nice and developed (around the 6 hour mark), spray the chuck roast with a mixture of 50% water and 50% apple cider vinegar and then wrap the chuck roast in pink butcher paper.  I skipped this step during this cook, due to over sleeping, but I do recommend this step to keep the beef juicy and tender.

Monitor the chuck roast temperature and take the chuck roast off the smoker when it reaches 200 F.  Depending on the starting weight of your chuck roast, I would expect it to take about 10 -12 hours total.  This chuck roast was 2.5 lbs and took 9.5 hours on the smoker.

When it is done, you can wrap it loosely in foil around the butcher paper and let it rest for an hour if you want to eat it soon.  Or, you can also wrap it in foil with the butcher paper still on and place it in a cooler for 2-3 hours if you need to stall prior to eating.

Slicing or Chopping the Smoked Chuck Roast

I typically just slice it up in 1/4 – 1/2″ slices, for nice thick cut sandwiches.  Depending on the cut of meat and your company for dinner, you might want to divide the chuck roast prior to slicing, to remove any large fatty sections.  I think the fat gives it flavor, so it does not bother me…. similar to a nice brisket!

You can also chop up the smoked chuck roast to make chopped beef sandwiches.  Generally you will get more sandwiches out of the beef if you go this route, versus sliced.  It you are worried about how much food you have for a group of friends, this is a good option.

slicing smoked chuck roast

Tools Used for the Smoked Chuck Roast

Pin For Later...

smoked chuck roast on BGE

Posted on Leave a comment

The Best Charcoal Smokers under $300

top 5 charcoal smokers under 300

top 5 charcoal smokers under 300

(this post contains affiliate links)

I recently purchased a new charcoal smoker to play with, which inspired me to nominate the Top Charcoal Smokers under $300. When deciding what smoker to buy, there are a ton to choose from.  You have propane smokers, pellet smokers, and charcoal smokers.  You also have larger offset smokers that wood logs in addition to charcoal.  People often ask my opinion on what smoker they should start with and there are a bunch of factors that play into that decision.  The size of the smoker, the cost of the smoker, the quality of BBQ produced, and is the smoker easy to work with and learn?  In this guide we are going to focus on charcoal smokers, because of the quality BBQ they produce.

After starting with a cheap electric smoker, and then trying a propane smoker, I have settled on charcoal smokers for my everyday use. They just put out a better product.  The flavor and bark developed in charcoal smokers is more authentic and robust than propane and pellet smokers and smoke flavor produced from the constant burning of charcoal is unmatched.

I typically use a chunk or two of apple, cherry, or oak for a little extra smoke and flavor, but the charcoal does most of the heavy lifting.  Luckily, you can find an awesome charcoal smoker for under $300 that you can use for a life time…. or until you buy another.  If you are like me, you are always looking for the next smoker to add to your patio weaponry.

If you are looking for a great charcoal smoker for a great price, any of the following charcoal smokers will help you smoke awesome BBQ for your family and friends. Lets examine the pros and cons of some high quality charcoal smokers that will take you to the promise land…. with out clearing your saving account.

Continue reading The Best Charcoal Smokers under $300

Posted on 73 Comments

Build your own Big Green Egg Table in a Weekend

After moving to a new home, and kissing my outdoor kitchen area goodbye, I had to build a grill table for my Large Big Green Egg.  After looking at a lot of ideas, this is the grill table design I finally went went with.  I have designed it to be easy to build and even more fun to use.  It has a ton of storage in the cabinets and a lot of countertop space on each side of the smoker.  Over the past 4 years, I have really enjoyed using it, but more importantly, a lot of readers have enjoyed building and using this table too! See some of their amazing tables below…… 

Grill Tables Built by Readers like You

This grill table was originally designed for a Large Big Green Egg or Classic Joe Kamado Joe. However, I am happy to say I have added plans for XL sized Green Eggs and Kamado Joes as well for this same table below, so you can build a table for Large or XL Kamados. 

Basic Grill Table Dimensions

This table is built to give you almost 3 ft of space on each side of the smoker, and grill cabinets to hold charcoal, grill grates, and all of your accessories.

The built size is:  8 ft long x 3 ft deep x 3 ft tall

The best part about building your own table is… you can customize the table any way you want.  Feel free to make changes.  I built this table entirely out of cedar material.  You can use pine if you want to save some money, just make sure to seal it or have it under a canopy to extend its life. Let’s get started…

Tools & Hardware Needed to Build Your Grill Table

I have built a number of grill tables for Green Eggs and Pellet Smokers.  The basic toolset  you absolutely need is:   Circular Saw, Jig Saw, Power Drill / Driver, Drill Bits, Clamps, Table Saw, Measuring Tapes, and Carpentry Squares. 

However, there are a lot of tools and hardware choices that make your table build a lot easier and a lot less time consuming.  You can find my detailed full list of Tools, Fasteners, and Hardware for your grill table build below in my Free Tools and Resources Guide… 

Download my Full Grill Table Tools & Resources Guide

Types of Lumber Needed to Build your Table

  • 2″ x 4″ x 8 ft Cedar
  • 1″ x 6″ x 8 ft Cedar
  • 1″ x 2″ x 8 ft Cedar
  • 1″ x 4″ x 8 ft Cedar
  • 1″ x  8″ x 8 ft Cedar

If you want a full material list with Detailed Instruction and Plans with Dimensions, Material Purchase Lists, and Cut Lists, you will want the full E-Book Download Below for Large and XL Kamados…. 

Green Egg Table Videos

While building this table and another big green egg table, I made videos that will help you visualize some of the steps you have to take during the build. Feel free to reference theses videos as you build your own table. 

Building your DIY Big Green Egg Table

The best way to build your green egg table is to break it into several steps that you can achieve in several hours at a time. Below are the basic steps we will take to build the table.

  1. Framing the Table 
  2. Installing the Countertop and Shelving
  3. Installation of the sides and the back of the Green Egg Table
  4. Cutting the Countertop
  5. Installing Trim Work
  6. Installing Doors and Hardware

Cut and measure as you go to save yourself some time from fixing mistakes.  I have rarely had success when cutting every piece up front… I always make a mistake… I mean I always “change the plans” on the fly.

Step 1: Framing the Table

The first step to building your Green Egg Table is constructing the main frame.  It is the most important step, as it provides the strength needed for durability and also determines all of the finished dimensions as you build out the table. 

Step 2: Installing the Countertop and Shelving

After the main framing out of 2×4’s is completed, you will want to install the casters on the “feet” of the table and then work on the countertop and horizontal shelving for the bottom shelf and smoker shelf. 

DIY Big Green Egg Table almost completed. Notice the casters installed on the table legs. You want to install these after the framing is completed, but before you start installing any of the 1×6 cedar floor and countertop.

Step 3: Cut the Hole for the Big Green Egg

After installing the floor and countertop, cut the opening for the Big Green Egg to sit in. Mark the center of the hole to be cut and use a nail, twine, and pencil to draw a smooth arc.  

diy big green egg table

Step 4: Install the Sides and the Back of the Table

The sides and back are 1×6 cedar, trimmed at the top and bottom with 1×2 cedar to give it a more finished look. Finally… a finished product for the moment.  Check out my youtube videos for the finishing touches and mounting the doors. 

Step 5: Install the Trim Work

Install 1×2, 1×4, and 1×6 cedar on the front to give the Green Egg Table a more finished look.  You want to cut these as tight as possible, as you will see the front of the table the most. 

diy large green egg table
Step 6: Install the Doors and Hardware

Finally, we have doors! Soft closing European hinges make this a functional and fun grill table. Doors are constructed of 1×8 cedar. I like to use 5/8″ overlay hinges, which I find easy to install. 

diy large green egg table
large green egg grill table on patio

If you want detailed plans to build a table for a Large Big Green Egg, XL Big Green Egg, Classic Joe, or Big Joe Smoker, you can find all options available below for both sizes.  The grill table plans contain detailed plans with dimensions, complete material lists, and detailed cut lists for each part of the project.  If you are looking to save yourself some time, this is the way to do it.

If you are not sure if you want to build your own Grill Table, you may find my Tools and Resources Guide useful, which you can download below.  It will give you a detailed list of tools, fasteners, and hardware that make this an easy build…. 

Download my Full Grill Table Tools & Resources Guide