Posted on Leave a comment

Easy Deep Dish Pizza Recipe : Detroit Style

detroit style pan pizza recipe cooked at home
deep dish pizza recipe for the home oven

There is nothing better than deep dish pizza when it is done right, with a crisp cheesy outer crust and soft pillowy interior. This deep dish pizza recipe will give you an amazing dough recipe that you can use for deep dish pizza or thin crust pizza, as well as a robust pizza sauce that is perfect for any pizzas you make in the future.  This pan pizza recipe is Detroit Style, which means it will be rectangular and topped with sauce on the top of the pizza.  Frankly…this recipe is one of the best things we make in our house.  My wife loves it every week… and I think your family will really enjoy it. 

The best thing about this deep dish pizza recipe is you do not need any large fancy equipment to get it done right.  The only things you might need to buy is an appropriate sized pan and a bakers scale for the best results.  I recommend using 8″ x 10″ carbon steel pans from Lloyds Pans, which are made right here in the USA.  Buy a few of these, and they will last forever.  More importantly, they will crank out killer deep dish pizza for you in your home oven.   The bakers scale will ensure this recipe comes out great the first time, and will also make it repeatable in the future.  They are only $15, and it will be very useful for any future baking recipes. 

deep dish pan pizza topping at home pepperoni and mushroom

We are now going to go through the details of making great pan pizza at home, breaking it down into 5 easy steps: 

  1. Easy Dough Recipe for Pan Pizza
  2. Simple Pizza Sauce with a Kick
  3. Stretching your Dough for Pan Pizza
  4. Topping your Pan Pizza
  5. Baking Pan Pizza to Perfection 

Deep Dish Pizza Dough Recipe

The most important part of any quality pizza is the dough.  After several months of experimenting with several flours, methods, and cooking times… I have finally nailed the best combination for amazing deep dish pizza.  Ingredients needed are below: 

  1.  1000 g Bread Flour
  2. 670 g room temperature water
  3. 25 g fine sea salt
  4. 1 teaspooon Active Dry Yeast
pan pizza dough ingredients - flour salt water yeast

Mix all your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Then add your water and mix it together with a spatula or your hands.  After you mix it all together, bring it together in a rough looking ball.  At this point the dough does not need to be smooth, just mixed together.  The dough will be sticky at this point. 

mixing dough by hand for pan pizza
mixing dough by hand for pan pizza

After bringing together in a ball, cover your bowl with a towel and let it sit for 30 minutes.  This will let the dough come together and become easier to work with.  

After resting for 30 minutes, turn the dough out onto the counter or a large cutting board.  Work the dough with your hands, folding it onto itself and smashing it down several times.  Do this for just a few minutes and the dough will start to form a smoother texture.  

pan pizza dough ball after mixing

When the dough is nice and smooth in texture, clean your large mixing bowl coat it lightly with olive oil.  At this point form the dough into a nice ball and place it in the mixing bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap or other tight sealing lid and let it sit at room temperature for one hour.  

pan pizza dough ball resting after mixing

After 1 hour, place the dough in the fridge for at least overnight.  I typically like to shoot for 2-3 days of cold fermentation in the fridge.  Anywhere in the 1-4 days time should be fine though.  

On the day you want to make the deep dish pizza, remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into 300 gram balls, for the 8″ x 10″ pan size.  After you divide the dough into balls, you can freeze any dough balls you will not use that day.  Freeze on a pan with parchment paper, and then transfer to Zip-Loc bags for future use. 

pizza dough after it has risen in the fridge for 3 days
deep dish pizza dough divided into balls for pan pizza

You want the dough balls to rest at room temperature for at least 4 hours, from my experience.  This will make the dough nice and relaxed when stretching it for the pan pizzas. Typically, I will start the actual stretching of the dough 90 minutes ahead of the baking them.  

Simple Pan Pizza Sauce Recipe

Great pizza sauce must start with quality tomatoes of some sort.  I have found these San Merican Tomato Crushed Tomatoes to be perfect for all pizza sauces, with out spending a fortune.  They have a little texture and great flavor – a nice balance of sweetness and citrus.  After you find a great starting tomato base, it’s really easy to make a good sauce. 

Pan Pizza Sauce Ingredients

  1. 28 oz can of Premium Crushed tomatoes
  2.  Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon
  3.  Fresh Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
  4.  Dry Sweet Basil – 1/2 teaspoon
  5.  Dry Oregano – 1/2 teaspoon
  6.  Garlic – 1 clove – finely chopped
  7.  Tomato Paste – 1 Tablespoon

Mix all ingredients together in a small sauce pan and simmer for 20 minutes mellow the garlic and thicken the sauce a little bit.  Cool in the fridge before using. This allows you to use more sauce on the pizza with out it being watery.  A good pan pizza needs more sauce in my opinion to balance out the thicker crust. You can use this sauce on any pizza though. 

Stretching the Dough for Pan Pizza

Stretching the dough is easy, as long as you give yourself enough time to work with.  The first thing you will want to do is spread some olive oil in the bottom and sides of the pan.  Just a nice even coating of the olive oil.  Then start pushing your 300 gram dough ball into an oval shape that fits the pan better. 

pizza dough in pan pizza pan
stretching pan pizza dough
stretching pan pizza dough

You will want to keep repeating this process every 15 minutes or so.  Start by pressing the dough out with your hands and then eventually picking up the dough to let it stretch out under its own weight.  I will pick it up on one side, letting it stretch out.  Then pick it up on the opposite side, letting it stretch out. 

Repeat this process until the dough fills the pan to the corners. 

Topping Detroit Style Pan Pizzas

Now, let me say this before I tell you how to top your pizza.  I am not from Detroit and this is probably not 100% detroit style.  However, it is damn tasty.  I would put this pan pizza against any recipe you can find from a book, internet, or anywhere else.  It is that good.  This is how I like it… 

  1. Now that your dough is stretched out, place thin slices of provolone across the pizza.  It can hit the edges of the pan a little.
  2. Then place little chunks of whole milk mozzarella or brick cheese randomly across the pizza.  
  3. Add the sauce in small spoonfuls across the pizza.  You can be random or deliberate.  I like a fair amount of sauce. 
  4. Top with a few of  your favorite toppings.  Keep it simple with just a few.  My favorite is Pepperoni and Mushroom or Green Pepper and Mushroom. 
  5.  Bake at 500°F , with the directions below. 
pan pizza topping at home

Baking Pan Pizzas at Home

After some experimenting, I have found the optimal temperature for baking pan pizzas to be 500°F in my home oven.  Your oven may vary a little bit, but I think this is a good place to start.  

Now that you have your dough stretched and topped with your favorite pizza toppings, place the pan on the bottom of your oven.  That’s correct, right on the bottom.  Not the rack… the actual bottom of the oven.   Leave it on the bottom of the oven for 5 minutes and then transfer it to the middle rack for another 10 minutes, for a total baking time of 15 minutes.  

The 5 minutes on the bottom of the oven is going to transfer a lot more heat to the pan quickly, allowing the bottom of the pizza to form that nice crisp crust.  The final 10 minutes will finish the entire pizza nicely, with a good balance of crispness on the outside and soft airy dough on the inside.  


amazing pan pizza recipe at home
cooked pan pizza at home
pan pizza crust

Let me know how you like this recipe if you try it!  If you are into Pizza, you might want to check out some of my other Pizza Blog Posts: 

Thin & Crispy Tavern Style Pizza Recipe

DIY Outdoor Pizza Kitchen Build

Review of the Gozney Roccbox Pizza Oven.  

Posted on Leave a comment

Typhur InstaProbe: The Best Digital Meat Probe?

typhur instaprobe meat thermometer checking chicken temperature
typhur instaprobe digital meat probe

I have owned a bunch of digital meat probes in the past 15 years or so.  I have used some cheap-o models I have found on Amazon and some pretty expensive models, like the Thermoworks Thermapens.  They all do similar things, but the more expensive models have all always set themselves apart by being a little easier to use, which also makes them more fun to use as well.  I am always looking for the next digital meat probe design that makes it easier… and more fun to use than that last model.  The Typhur InstaProbe is the next level up, with a response time under 0.75 seconds and a huge OLED display! 

typhur instaprobe digital meat thermometer checking steak internal temperature

InstaProbe First Impressions

The Typhur InstaProbe is a great new digital meat probe that I have been fortunate to check out as it has launched nationwide recently.  Before getting into the specs of this clean lined meat probe, I want to talk about my initial thoughts on the design and the basic functions of the InstaProbe.  

  1. The InstaProbe has a nice streamlined look and feel.  The all black exterior and clean edges give the meat probe a modern look and feel, which I like. 
  2. The large OLED Display takes center stage and the size and brightness is noticed right away.  This is probably my favorite part of the InstaProbe Digital Meat Thermometer.  It rotates as needed, you can see it clearly during day and night, and did I mention it’s HUGE! 
  3. The response time is very, very fast.  When you insert the probe into a steak or peice of chicken, it responds fast! Definitely comparable or better than the top competitors.

You can purchase the Typhur InstaProbe on their website here. Current retail price is around $109. 

For a hands on demo of the Typhur InstaProbe, you can checkout my video below.  It’s a pretty impressive meat probe….

typhur digital meat probe

Typhur InstaProbe: Key Features & Specs

Along with the super fast response time and large OLED display, the InstaProbe has a few other features that make it competitive with top digital meat probes, and a feature or two that give it a distinct advantage.  Here are some Spec’s that Typhur likes to show off about the InstaProbe: 

  1. Waterproof casing – Rated IP67- You should be able to rinse the meat probe under water, or leave it in some sprinkling rain and it should survive just fine, because IP 67 means you should be able to submerse the meat under water less than 1 meter and it should be fine.  
  2. Temperature Calibration – precise 7 Point Calibration within +/- 0.5°F
  3. Temperature response time – clocked under 0.75 seconds! 
  4. Close the probe to put it to sleep, or it will shut itself off after
  5. Magnetic back for easy storage 
  6. Open and wake up 
  7. Shake to wake feature
  8. Rotating OLED Display
  9. Switchable between °C and °F
  10. Temperature Range of 58°-572° F
  11. Powered by easy to access AAA batteries

After using the InstaProbe for a few months, my favorite feature beside the huge bright OLED display is the shake and wake feature.  I use it all the time and that is way easier than closing and opening the meat probe to wake it up.  It is super fast to shake and wake… I love this feature! 

typhur instaprobe meat thermometer checking chicken temperature

How Far to Insert the Meat Thermometer?

Different meat thermometers have different probe tip dimensions.  I am happy to say this probe is nice and sharp, and super easy to probe any peice of meat. However, the tips of ultra fast digital meat thermometers can be a little sensitive, so I have found it best to insert the tip the full depth of the slim tip for the most accurate results. When the slim tip is fully inserted, the temperature readings have been very stable and accurate.  

How to Test Meat Thermometer Calibration

I have tested the temperature readings from the Typhur InstaProbe against my other trusted meat probes, such as the Thermapen One, and they have always been within a few tenths of a degree, which speaks to the accuracy of both meat probes.  However, if you really want a good reading on temperature calibration, the easiest thing to do is read the temperature of boiling water. The temperature should be close to the boiling water temperature specified for your location and corresponding altitude.  You can calculate an approximate boiling water temperature for your location at Omni  Then you can check your meat probes for accuracy against that approximation.   Just realize, everything is an approximation.  Your water boiling point will still depend on minerals in the water, the humidity that day, etc.   It is a good sanity check though. 

typhur instaprobe digital meat thermometer checking steak internal temperature

Do I Need to Clean my Meat Probe?

Do you need to clean your meat probe? Maybe not, but it’s probably a good idea to give it a little refresher every month or two depending on use.  Think about the underdone chicken you have checked with your probe, and then maybe you will want to clean that probe.  I recommend cleaning the stainless parts of the meat probe with warm soap and water or an alcohol swab. 

What Digital Meat Probe Should I Buy?

There are a lot of cheap knock off meat probes on amazon and the rest of the web.  However, if you are serious about BBQ and feeding your friends and family quality food, I highly recommend a higher price point digital meat thermometer, such as the Typhur InstaProbe.  It will deliver quality meats, and its just plain fun to use during the process.  The big OLED Screen, Shake and Wake Feature, and Super Fast Response time are the clear winners for me!  I have really enjoyed using it. 

You can purchase the Typhur InstaProbe on their website here. 

typhur instaprobe digital meat probe checking chicken temperature
Posted on 9 Comments

Gozney Roccbox Review and Tips for Great Pizza

gozney roccbox pizza oven review

I have always loved wood fired pizza.  If I could choose one type of pizza crust, that is probably the one I would choose.  So, after a lot of research and indecision, I finally made the call to buy the Gozney Roccbox portable pizza oven.  I chose it mainly because of the high quality construction and I also really liked the look of the oven compared to others.  After using this oven for 4 months, I feel like I am qualified to give you a thorough review of the Gozney Roccbox, and give you some great tips to make amazing pizza with this little oven. 

Roccbox Video Review

If you prefer video over text, check out my in depth roccbox review below on the Seared & Smoked YouTube Channel

Gozney Roccbox Key Features and First Impressions

This oven just looks cool! I love the overall design of the pizza oven body and the legs of the oven.  It looks futuristic and the legs of the oven remind me of a well designed tower or bridge structure.  

The materials of the Roccbox are all very high quality.  I think this oven will last for many years, as the exterior is mainly stainless steel, with the exception of the silicone jacket that surrounds the body.  The silicone jacket is a nice touch, as it does not get crazy hot, making the hot oven less of a safety hazard. 

High Quality Build – 64 lbs of quality materials – you can feel the quality of the Roccbox as you unbox it! This oven is well insulated and stays hot for a long time once it warms up.  

I love that this pizza oven has a temperature gauge integrated into the oven on the left side.  I will talk more about this below, but for a pizza oven that costs $500, this is a welcomed feature. 

The gas burner lights easily and warms up quickly.  You can start making pizzas about 30 minutes after starting the burner. 

On the down side, the gas line that comes attached to the roccbox is a little short, measuring around 38″.  If your propane tank is not located right by your oven, you are out of luck.  

How Large of a Pizza can you Make in the Gozney Roccbox?

So, the roccbox is a high performance pizza oven.  That being said, the maximum pizza diameter that will fit in the roccbox is 12 inches. The pizza peel that comes with the oven is about 12″ wide, so you can use the peel as a guide for how wide to make the pizza.  However, it does make turning the pizza a little tricky during the cook.  I find I have to use the pizza peel to pull the pizza, give it a turn by hand, and then put it back in the oven.  So… it slows the cooking process a bit.  

The 12″ pizzas do turn out nice though… I have been very impressed by the quality of pizza I am able to make in this little oven, even with the size restrictions

Gozney Roccbox Temperature Control

The roccbox can be heated by a gas burner or small wood chunks if you decide to purchase the wood burner attachment.  I have only used the gas burner, and have found it to work flawlessly.  

The gas burner lights up with a quick “click” as you turn the knob on the back of the roccbox.  It puts out a impressive and mesmerizing flame that quickly heats the oven up to 800°F.  The only down side to the temperature control knob is the location, which is on the back of the oven.  This makes the control knob a little tough to reach from the front.

The roccbox has a nice temperature gauge on the left side of the oven that works quite well.  I have found it to correlate with the middle of the pizza stone pretty well.  After using it a few times, you can easily get a feel for the oven, making the temperature gauge quite useful.  However, I still use an infrared temperature gun to check the pizza stone temperature most of the time. 


I personally have found the sweet spot of the temperature control to be in the halfway point between high and low on the control knob.  This easily heats the oven up to 800°F,  making crisp pizza crusts that do not get too overdone.  If you have the burner on high, you can easily torch a few pizzas pretty quick from my experience. 

Gozney Roccbox Pros and Cons

After making a lot of pizzas on the Roccbox in a lot of different weather conditions, with a variety of dough recipes, I can attest to the quality and general high performance of this pizza oven.  However, it does have some definite highlights and lowlights to point out.  This list of pros and cons are the features worth weighing when looking to purchase this oven: 

Roccbox Pros

Roccbox Cons

Overall, I think you cannot go wrong with this oven.  The real limiting factor is the size of the oven, if larger pizzas are important to you.  If 10-12″ pizzas are acceptable, I think you will find the performance of the Gozney Roccbox to be superior to similar sized ovens.  If you have any questions about this review of the of Gozney Roccbox, leave me a comment here and I will be sure to respond.  Below you will find some tips on using the Gozney Roccbox to make amazing pizzas the first time you use it!  If you have a roccbox or another pizza oven, you may be interested in my Compact Outdoor Pizza Kitchen Plans

Roccbox Tips for Great Pizza

I made a few bad pizzas the first time I used the roccbox.  After making some adjustments, I am pretty confident making great pizzas every time.  If you follow these guidelines, you will be on your way to a successful pizza party. 

1. Pizza Dough Recipe & Dough Ball Size

I use the following ratios when making pizza dough for the roccbox and pretty much any other pizza oven. 

  • 1000 grams Bread Flour
  • 650 grams room temperature water
  • 25 grams salt
  • 3 grams dry yeast (1 teaspoon)

Mix together to form a ball.  Let it rest for 30 minutes in the bowl.  Work it again, this time on the countertop until it is smooth.  Then let it sit covered in a big bowl for 45 minutes at room temperature.  Then put in the refrigerator overnight, and up to 3 days.  It must be at least overnight.  The long fermentation time is the key to great dough with little effort.  

Take the dough out of the fridge the day you want to use it 4 hours or more in advance.  Divide into 220 gram dough balls for 12″ pizzas.  This will give you a thin pizza crust that is fairly easy to stretch.  

2. Roccbox Setup and Temperature

I like the roccbox temperature control knob set at medium.  However, there is a specific threshold I am looking for when adjusting the flame.  I want the flame to crawl along the roof of the pizza oven, but stop just short of the front of the oven by an inch or so.  If I have this setup, I know the pizzas will come out crisp on the bottom, and the top will not get burnt before that happens.  Typically the stone temperature will be around 800-850°F in the back and closer to 600° in the front.  

3. Choosing the Right Cheese for the Roccbox - avoiding burnt pizzas!

Beyond the cheese, you can choose whatever toppings you want.  But… I only recommend high moisture content cheese, such as Buffalo Mozzarella for the Roccbox and other high temperature ovens.    

I made the mistake of trying to practice with “cheap” standard shredded low moisture mozzarella, and it was a disaster.  Shredded low moisture cheese simply melts too fast and becomes charred way too fast.  

For the best results, buy the logs or large balls of buffalo mozzarella and rip them into little chunks that are about the size of dice or small marbles. They will melt slower and allow you to leave the pizza in the oven longer for that crisp crust.  Experiment with the size, but definitely go with the real deal mozzarella.  

4. Don't Overtop your Pizza!!

Along with choosing the correct cheese, another big mistake you can make is overtopping the pizza with cheese and other toppings.  I would challenge you to use about 50% of the toppings you think you need, if your pizzas have not been successful yet.  Just give that a shot and see if they are improved.  

5. Roccbox Cooking Time

Cooking time definitely depends on the dough and the temperature inside the roccbox.  From my experience if you are in the 800°F range in the back of the oven, the pizzas will cook in about 2-3 minutes including some time to remove, turn, and put back in the oven.   As I get more skilled, perhaps I can cook at higher temperatures and reduce that time.  However, I really have enjoyed the pizzas  I have cooked at these medium/hot temperature ranges. 

Posted on 4 Comments

Build Your Own Outdoor Pizza Oven Kitchen

gozney or ooni pizza oven kitchen table

Below you will find photos and plans of a new Outdoor Pizza Oven Kitchen I recently built at my house.  The area I chose to build the kitchen is not very big, so this kitchen area is compact… yet loaded with storage and a lot of countertop space.  It is essentially a DIY Outdoor Cabinet built out of Pine and Cedar, then finished with a high quality granite top.  

gozney or ooni pizza oven kitchen table

I started playing with different outdoor pizza ovens about 10 years a go in my backyard.  After eating plenty of sub-par pizzas from the local fast food joints here in Des Moines, I simply had to find a better way to make pizza at home.  After playing with Ooni Pizza Ovens and Weber Kettle Pizza Oven setups, I finally purchased a Gozney Roccbox portable pizza oven.  It took some experimentation, but after getting the pizza making process dialed in, I decided to build a more convenient outdoor area for making pizzas.  

gozney or ooni pizza oven kitchen table

Steps to Build your Pizza Oven Outdoor Kitchen

Picking Your Location for the Outdoor Kitchen

When choosing the best spot for you Outdoor Kitchen, think about the exposure to weather, convenience to the indoors, and other factors that might influence the build.  In my case, I picked a spot that was convenient to my indoor kitchen and also had a sturdy concrete base, which made this build really easy.  If you do not have a sturdy base to work with, you will want to install a concrete footing prior to framing the pizza oven kitchen.  

Other factors to think about:  Typical Wind Directions, Sunset Direction, Electrical Access, Gas Plumbing Access if Needed

Framing the Outdoor Pizza Oven Cabinet

If you have a solid footing to work with, the first step is building the frame for the cabinets.  Because the area I am working in is covered, I am using standard pine 2×4 construction.  If you anticipate the base or floor areas being very wet, then I would build the bottom of the frame out of pressure treated 2x4s. 

Pizza Oven Kitchen Build Video

You can checkout more details of this build below by watching my video on the Seared and Smoked YouTube Channel.  Subscribe if you want to see future videos! 

Interior Shelving and Dividers

After your outdoor kitchen cabinets are framed, then you will want to finish any interior work prior to finishing the outside trim work. For this kitchen, I am just installing 3/4″ plywood for the cabinet floors.  You can add dividers, but I did not want to install those prior to using the cabinets, as I wanted to leave some flexibility. 

Exterior Trim Work and Siding

After you finish any interior work, you will want to complete the trim work and siding for any exposed sides of the kitchen.  I only had two sides to finish, as I built this Pizza Oven Kitchen against my house.  You may have more sides to finish depending on your location.  As in previous outdoor projects I have worked on, I am finished all exterior wood surfaces with Cedar, which holds up well to the outdoor elements with the proper sealer applied.  My favorite sealer is Penofin Ultra in the Transparent Cedar Color.  I like to use 18 gauge finish nail guns to install the trim work and the vertical siding… which makes it go really fast. 

Build the Doors and Drawers

After you have your cabinet framed and trimmed out with cedar, the next step is building the doors and any drawers you have to install.  I typically measure all the door and drawer openings and then build the doors and the drawer face to be 1/4″ smaller in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions.  If you are a very skilled wood worker, then you can make this tolerance 1/8″ or even 1/16″.  However, I do not aim for perfection and generally use the 1/4″ adjustment. 

Below are some links you may find useful for building the doors and drawers: 

gozney or ooni pizza oven kitchen table
gozney or ooni pizza oven kitchen table
gozney or ooni pizza oven kitchen table

Finishing Work to Complete the Pizza Oven Kitchen

After you get the doors and the drawers built, you are on the home stretch.  After mounting the doors with European hinges and getting the drawer installed, it is time to seal the wood to preserve the look and install drawer pulls for doors and drawer.  I recommend using Penofin Ultra in the Transparent Cedar color to finish your cabinets.  I have used it a lot and it holds up fantastic.  Links for the hardware are above as well. 

Is Granite Worth the Price for an Outdoor Kitchen?

After building a half-dozen outdoor grill tables and kitchens, I can definitely say that paying for a granite counter is totally worth it! By installing the granite, you are pretty much making your cabinet waterproof, which preserves the wood and all the hard work you put into this Outdoor Pizza Oven Kitchen.  After you write the check, you will never regret the decision.  The granite slab for this build ending up being 6 ft x 3 ft. 

gozney or ooni pizza oven kitchen table

Plans and Dimensions - Outdoor Pizza Oven Kitchen

I sized this pizza oven cabinet based on the size I had to work with and the finish height and depth I desired for the pizza oven itself.  So, it is definitely taller than standard counter heights and deeper than most kitchen cabinets you would find in an indoor kitchen.  

The reason I made the height in the 39″ range is I did not want to constantly bend way down to check if the pizza was done.  I wanted a pretty clear view of the pizza while standing next to it. I have really enjoyed that feature, and would not change a thing so far.  For reference, I am 6 ft tall, so adjust accordingly for your own setup. 

Below you will find the framing plans for my setup, which ends up being about 39″ tall after granite is installed. Leave me a comment if you have any questions.   A video for this build will be posted on my YouTube Channel very soon! 

Interested in other Grill Tables and Outdoor Cabinets?  You can find All of My Outdoor Plans Here

Posted on Leave a comment

6 Steak Rubs and Marinades that Will Change your Life

reverse seared ribeye
seared steak

There is nothing wrong with Salt & Pepper for your steak seasoning when done correctly.  However, these 6 Rubs and Marinades will change the way you season your steaks for the grill.  After mixing up a few rubs and marinades, your family will think of you as a super hero….. changing the ordinary weeknight steak into a night out at home!  

I recommend starting with the marinades first… as they are heavy hitters that will open your eyes to the possibilities. 

Asian Steak Marinade

One of my all time favorite marinades that has sweetness, saltiness, and a little funk and heat on the backend.  If you do not like the heat, leave out the chili paste and you will be fine.  Great for skirt steak, flank steak, hanger steak, and flat iron steak

Marinade for 30 minutes to 2 hours ahead of time.  Recipe for 1-2 lbs of Steak. 

  • 3 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Gochujang
    (or 2 teaspoon chili paste)
  • 2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • Pinch of Black Pepper
  • Pinch of Salt

Carne Asada Marinade

I have had a quite a few bad carne asada tacos here in Iowa… I created this marinade to solve my own problem, and I am pretty proud of this one.  It is the “freshest” marinade on this list with plenty of citrus and cilantro that brings a bright punch of flavor.  Try this for a great steak by itself, or take taco night to the next level at home.  I usually pair this with Skirt Steak or Flank Steak.  

Marinade for 2-6 hours ahead of time.  Recipe for 1-2 lbs of steak. 

  • Juice of 1 Orange
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 3 Cloves Crushed Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Mexican Beer
  • Handful of Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 Jalapeño Diced
  • 1/2 Kiwi Smashed
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper

Amazing All Purpose Steak Marinade

This is a steak marinade for all occasions.  Well balanced with a touch of sweetness and a little salty tang that goes well with any steak.  Great for thin cut steak sandwiches or steak & potato night.  Can’t lose with this marinade recipe. 

Marinade for 30 minutes to 2 hours prior to grilling.  Recipe for 1-2 lbs of steak. If you are going overnight, add 8 Tablespoons of additional water.  Try this with flank steak or flat iron steak.  

  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worsteshire Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar or Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper

Red Chile Steak Rub

I would add a little heat to all my dinners, if it was my choice alone.  This Red Chile Steak Rub adds a little kick to a classic steak rub, and gives your steaks at home one more added dimension.   Season evenly and liberally.  After seasoning, I like to drizzle some olive oil and rice vinegar for nice marinade.  

Season 30 – 90 minutes ahead of time and rest in the fridge. Try this with Ribeye, New York Strip, or Hanger Steak.  

  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Ancho Chile
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Sweet and Salty Steak Rub

For years I was in search of a steak rub that was more balanced, that tasted less salty.  This rub allows you to coat the steak pretty heavily if it is a thicker steak, which really creates an amazing flavor crust over a hot grill. I like this on thicker steaks, such as Ribeye, Hanger Steak, and New York Strip.  

Season 30 – 90 minutes ahead of time and rest in the fridge.  

  • 2.5 Tablespoons Coconut Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoon lemon pepper

Classic Steak House Rub

A little touch of salt, pepper, herbs, and spice.  This is a great all purpose rub for Steaks and Burgers.  Feel free to experiment with the herbs you use in this rub for a change of pace.  Great for all steaks and burgers.  Season the thicker cuts more heavily.  

Season 30-90 minutes ahead of time and rest in the fridge. 

  • 2 teaspoon Coconut Sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 3 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile
  • 3 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon oregano,
    thyme, or other herbs

More Details on Steak Marinades and Rubs

I go through all the nuances and details of these steak rubs and marinades in the video below.  Want to know why I choose certain ingredients or where to find some of them?  All in my YouTube video below… 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Best Cheap Steaks for Your Grill…Stop Wasting your Money!

cheap steaks for the grill

Are you sick of the same old steak cuts on a weekly basis? I have a handful of amazing steaks that you can pair with great rubs and marinades that will change they way you grill steak… and how much you spend doing it!  All of these steaks are towards the bottom of the price range, typically found below $10 per pound, and sometimes much less on sale. 

From the Left: Skirt Steak, Flat Iron Steak, Flank Steak, Hanger Steak, Chuck Eye Steak, Shoulder Tender Steak

However, its not the price that drives me to purchase these steaks… its the flavor and versatility of these cuts that make them so amazing! No matter what the occasion, one of these steaks will be the perfect choice for the grill! Below are my favorite cheap steak cuts and why they should be on your list for the butcher.

6 Amazing Cheap Steak Cuts

Grilling Tips for Amazing Steaks

These grilling tips apply to any steaks, but certainly to these cuts as they can be a little tough or chewy if not treated correctly.  

  1. Season liberally with salt and pepper, or other seasoning blends about 30 minutes before grilling.  
  2. The thicker the steak, the more seasoning you want to ensure a flavorful steak. 
  3. Do not undercook these steaks… as they will be chewy.  I recommend pulling your steaks off the grill with an internal temperature of 130°F.
  4. Rest your steaks for at least 5 minutes.  Then make sure to slice your meat against the grain.  A lot of the steaks on this list have a strong grain, which works out great… as long as you cut perpendicular to that grain.  Cut with the grain… and your meat will be tough! 

Hanger Steak

If you are going to choose one steak to try on this list…it might be hanger steak.  If you have a good source, then this is one of my favorite cuts for steak night.  It has the tenderness of a filet when cooked properly, but with slightly more fat content which makes it so juicy and flavorful.  A nice combination of tenderness and buttery goodness!  Make sure to cut against the grain, or you will not find it very tender!  

Flat Iron Steak

Flat Iron Steak may be the most versatile steak on this list of cheap steaks.  It is similar to flank steak, but I find it more tender and has a little higher fat content for added richness.  This steak is great by itself, or sliced thin for fajitas or tacos.  I love it with a good asian marinade as well. Slice against the grain to ensure tenderness. 

Flank Steak

Flank Steak is a classic at our house.  When you get a good cut of flank steak, it really brings a rich beefy flavor to the table.  This is a great cut to sear hard for a few minutes on each side, or low and slow finished over high heat with a reverse sear.  

Flank Steak is thick and beefy enough to stand up for steak and potato night, but also takes the flavor of marinades very quickly.  Try my 30 minute flank steak marinade for an amazing weeknight meal. 

flank steak

Skirt Steak

When you want a steak that is rich in flavor and super quick to prepare… pick up a Skirt Steak. They are super think compared to most cuts of beef and take on flavors quickly before hitting the grill.  I love making Carne Asada for home made street tacos.  This Carne Asada marinade has hints of sweet and saltiness, along with the freshness of cilantro, lime, and orange.  One of my ALL TIME favorite marinades….. you will love it! 

skirt steak

Shoulder Tender Steak

You can think of Shoulder Tender Steaks as a poor man’s tenderloin, as it is lean and pretty darn tender for a cheap cut of meat.  They kind of look like mini filets as well… except you can eat a whole one by yourself.  I like to pair this steak with a Classic Garlic Salt and Pepper steak rub, a little olive oil, and rice vinegar… for an easy marinade.  Grill to medium rare and you are off to the races! 

Chuck Eye Steak

Chuck Eye Steak is a great cheap steak, that is quite similar to a ribeye.  Similar to a ribeye, the chuck eye has marbled fat running through the beef, for a super rich flavor profile.  

I like to buy Chuck Eyes on the thicker side, so you can sear them long and hard on each side to create that salty flavor crust on the outside, without over cooking the steak.  Checkout my sweet and salty steak rub for Chuck Eyes an other thicker cuts of steak…. love the balanced flavor of this rub! 

ribeye alternative

Cheap Steaks with Huge Flavor

Looking for more info on these amazing steaks?… in the video below I cover all the details of these beautiful cuts of beef.  Check it out for more knowledge and feel free to ask any questions below in the comments… or on my YouTube Channel.  

Posted on Leave a comment

Perfectly Grilled Salmon with an Amazing Rub

grilled salmon recipe
grilled salmon recipe

This grilled salmon recipe saved my marriage!  Ok, we would probably still be together, but this recipe is my wife’s favorite, out of anything I have ever made… and I think this salmon is a flat out winner as well.  It is super easy and can be prepared in 30 minutes from start to finish, which is a bonus.  

When you are done you will have a large tender juicy piece of salmon that has crispy skin on one side and a sweet and salty flavor crust on the other.  Follow this guide below, and you will have something special to share with your family and friends. 

Basic Steps for Perfectly Grill Salmon

  1. Pick out a thick 1-1.5 lb piece of salmon for each couple you are serving.  I buy about 8 oz of salmon per person. 
  2. Rinse and dry your fish, as you want a nice clean piece of fish to absorb our BBQ Spice Rub
  3. Season the skin side lightly with BBQ Rub and the flesh side liberally.  You do not want the rub “cakey” but you want a fairly thick coating
  4. Slather the salmon with Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, or another vegetable oil.  Marinate for 20-60 minutes. 
  5. Heat your grill to medium high.  Clean thoroughly.  Then place your Salmon flesh side down for 3 minutes.  
  6. Flip after those 3 minutes with a big spatula.  Turn the grill down to medium low and cook for another 3-10 minutes until the internal temperature in the middle is 125°F.  

Salmon Rub Recipe

One of the absolute keys for an amazing grilled salmon is a BBQ rub that is full of flavor, but is not overpowering.  Luckily, I have a perfect rub that will give you a balanced sweet and salty bite, with a little heat on the end.  Make a big batch of this and you can use it on Salmon, Chicken, and Pork of all types. 

  • 2 Tablespoons Celery Salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 12 Tablespoons Brown Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, or Coconut 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

How do you Know When Salmon is Done?

So, the easiest way to know when salmon is done is to use a quality temperature probe to measure internal temperature.  I like to take my salmon off the grill when it reaches 125-130°F in the middle.  If you like salmon more rare, you can take it off at 110°F. 

Another key to look for if you do not have a temperature probe, is how the salmon will start to open up on the flesh side, and you will see the texture of the fish appear.  You can see the fissures in the salmon below… that is one way to tell when it is getting closer to done. 

Tips to Flipping Salmon on the Grill

There are several keys to flipping salmon with out losing a bunch of fish in the process. 

  1. First, you cannot be scared.  You have to slip the spatula under the fish quickly and aggressively.  Go slow and you are finished for sure. 
  2. Second, when you grill the flesh side down, make sure the thick part of the fish is facing toward you. It gives the spatula a better chance of getting under the fish clean. 
  3. Finally, get a proper big ass stainless steel spatula.  Something like this one, which should get the job done. 
  4. Also, make sure that the cut of salmon is not much wider than your spatula.  Cut your fish to size if needed.  

Check out the video below to see my techniques in action for more confidence grilling better salmon: 

You will LOVE this recipe… its been a fan favorite on YouTube… so give it a try with confidence.  Leave me a comment if you try it… and hit me up with questions if you have any. Cheers – Keegan

Posted on 2 Comments

Green Chile Pork Carnitas

hatch green chile pork carnitas

This recipe for Green Chile Pork Carnitas is one of my all time comfort foods, as it brings some heat from the regional New Mexican hatch green chiles and a ton of rich flavor from a variety of pork cuts.  Throw this in a low and slow kettle or slow cooker for an afternoon and you will have the start for an amazing meal for your family and friends. 

hatch green chile pork carnitas

Pork Carnitas Grocery List

Although the flavors for these carnitas are rich and complex, the ingredient list and following recipe is super simple.  Only a few things needed from the store to tackle this recipe.  

  • 10-12 lbs of Pork:  I prefer to use a variety of lean pork and fatty pork.  Typically 5-6 lbs of Pork Loin and then 5-6 lbs of Boneless Country Style Ribs or Boneless Pork Shoulder. 
  • 40 oz Jar of Roasted Hatch Green Chile:  I like to buy the Medium Heat 505 Brand Jars from Amazon or Costco.  They are straight out of New Mexico and have exactly the right combination of heat and tangy flavor. Do not skimp on quality green chiles… this is the key to the recipe! 
  • 28 oz can of Diced Tomatos or Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes 
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic Roughly chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar 
  • Pantry Seasonings:  Salt, Black Pepper, Ancho Chile, Granulated Garlic

Pork Rub Seasoning

The green chiles goes a long way for seasoning the pork, but we need to add some more salt to make sure the carnitas have a nice punch of flavor after braising in the oven for 5 hours.  This is a basic rub I like to use to give the carnitas a well rounded bite….

  • 6 Tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Ancho chile
  • 2 teaspoons Granulated Garlic

Pork Prep for Carnitas

The most timely task in this whole process is prepping the pork, seasoning the pork, and then searing the pork in the dutch oven.  You can skip searing the pork if you want to save time, and it will come out fine.  However, I do think searing the pork builds a little more flavor. 

  1. Cube up the pork in 3″ cubes or strips depending on the cut of pork you are working with
  2. Season on all sides with the rub, coating all sides of the pork cubes evenly.  Don’t be shy with it! 
  3. Heat up your dutch oven, or other large 8 quart pan to medium heat until nice and hot. 
  4. Put a few table spoons of Vegetable Oil in bottom of the pan and sear the pork in batches, adding oil as needed.  Sear small batches at a time, so you are developing a nice golden brown flavor crust on all the pieces.  If you over crowd the pan, you steam the meat, and not get that nice crust. Turn the Pork once every 3-4 minutes to sear most sides of the meat.  
  5. Set pork aside after searing, then add it all back to the dutch oven after all the pork is seared. 

Slow Cooking the Green Chile Pork

Now that you have the pork seasoned and seared, the rest is easy!  The smells out of the oven the rest of the way will be intoxicating. 

  1. Pour the diced tomatoes, chopped garlic, roasted green chiles, and rice vinegar over the pork and nudge them into the crooks and holes of the pork.  
  2. Cover the dutch oven or pot and place in the oven at 300°F for a total of 5-6 hours. 
  3. At the 3-4 hour mark, get a sample of the braising liquid and some of the pork in a little bowl, shred and taste test.  At this time, add more salt to your taste before cooking the pork for a few more hours.  
  4. When you pull the pork from the oven, it will be swimming in liquid at first, similar to the picture below.  Before you shred all the pork, try to skim any excess fat from the top with a spoon. 
  5. Shred the pork and the meat will absorb all the juices and be amazingly tender and juicy! 
slow cooked pork carnitas

I hope you enjoy this one!  New Mexican flavors will always hold a special place in my heart from my time spent there.  Some of my favorite meals to make with the green chile pork are: 

  • Simple soft tacos with sour cream
  • Burrito bowls with rice and beans, and tomatoes.
  • Breakfast burritos with eggs, hash browns, cheese, and sour cream

Leave me a comment if you give this one a try!  – Keegan

Posted on 12 Comments

Traeger Grill Table Plans

pellet smoker grill table plans for traegers
traeger grill table plans

If you are a Traeger pellet grill owner, you may have noticed there are not many Traeger Grill Table Plans out there, if any at all.  I am thrilled to finally offer Traeger owners a solution to building a quality Traeger Grill Table at home for a reasonable price.  You will no longer have to drag pellets, meat probes, and other accessories back and forth from that garage.  You can keep all your smoking gear right inside your new Traeger Grill Table.  

Currently, I have Grill Table Plans that fit the Traeger Pro 575 and Traeger Ironwood 650 as one plan set for both.  If you own the larger Traeger Pro 780 and Traeger Ironwood 885, these grill table plans are also sold as one set as both grills are a similar size.

What are Included in the Plans?

The plans for each grill table include all the details you need to get the job done right the first time, with minimal trips back and forth to the hardware store.  Plans include… 

If you want more information on what tools you need, what fasteners are best, and my favorite hardware… check out my Tools & Hardware Guide.  

Download my Full Grill Table Tools & Resources Guide

You may purchase grill table plans for several sizes of Traeger Grills below….. 

I have designed all of these plans to be super easy to build.  If you have a chop saw and a table saw, it will be very easy to cruise through these plans in a weekend.  If your tool set is less advanced, it will take you a little longer.  

The plans are designed to break-up the project into modular units, so the final project is easy to assemble, even if you are a one man band in the garage. 

You will work from the ground up to build the base frame, cabinet frames, and then finish everything off with beautiful trim work to create your own work of art. 

base frame of traeger grill table
traeger grill table completed with cedar trim

You can be confident these plans are well designed and built to last a long time, as I am a registered Landscape Architect here in Iowa.  I spend a lot of my time at work designing more complex outdoor kitchens, so you can feel confident these are complete plans that will help you save time and money during the process.