Onion Bombs

I am always looking for new ideas to try on the grill. This dish is easy, simple and delicious. Most onion bomb recipes call for wrapping the onion with foil and tossing them in a campfire but I simply put them directly on the grill and it worked great.

Directions:

– Peel large onions
– Use the meat of your choice- I used sausage but ground beef or turkey works fine also
– Season- anything goes here- Italian spices, garlic, chili powder or ketchup and Worcestershire sauce work well if you want a meatloaf taste
– Peel your onions and cut them in half
– Prepare the meatballs how you want and stuff between the onions peels
– Use a wooden skewer to keep the ball intact
– Grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes, flip over and cook another 10 minutes

Enjoy this easy and tasty recipe.

GrillOnions1

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Grilling Pizza

I absolutely love pizza- it is one of my favorite foods. I also love grilling, so why not have both at the same time? It can be very easy to make your own pizza, and there are thousands of recipes to refer to. Now if you want to get serious, you can even make your own pizza crust. While I took the easier path and bought grilling flatbread for pizza at the supermarket, I still enjoyed selecting the items I wanted on my personal pizza. As seen from the Pinterest board below, there are many, many possibilities in creating your own original pizza.

After building your pizza, grill over medium heat. It only takes a couple of minutes and you are ready to enjoy your creative meal.

https://www.pinterest.com/flatoutbread/30-days-of-flatout-grilled-pizzas/

GrillPizza2

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How Not To Start A Fire

There is nothing like enjoying a fire in the fire pit surrounded by friends. Unlike the video below, please follow a few basic safety rules:

  • The fire pit should be at least ten feet away from combustible material such as a deck or other structures
  • Avoid windy conditions
  • Do not burn on burn-ban days
  • Only burn seasoned firewood – no household trash or brush
  • Keep a garden hose or water supply close by
  • Start your fire small with a store bought fire starter or crumbled piece of paper, then add small pieces of wood
  • NEVER USE GASOLINE – IT IS WAY TOO DANGEROUS
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The Veranda Comes Inside

I don’t know about you but I am ready for spring to arrive, when I can enjoy the veranda in more comfortable temperatures. It seems like warm weather is never going to get here. During one of our recent cold spells, I had to move the veranda indoors. After a rather cold and blustery day, I was in the mood for a drink but it was too cold for a brew. So I decided to try something entirely different to warm me up on a chilly evening – Hot Buttered Rum.

There were many different recipes to choose from but a quick search on the Food Network returned what looked like a choice, Hot Buttered Rum, courtesy of Rachael Ray. We even had all the ingredients in the pantry. With the spices used the result reminded me of fall harvest time but overall, I think the flavors were too rich. I would definitely try another cold weather beverage. Maybe next time I will try hot cider with rum.

Hot Buttered Rum

Ingredients

2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch salt
3/4 cup spiced rum
2 cups boiling water
4 sticks cinnamon, for garnish

Directions

Using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a 4-cup (or larger) measuring cup. Add the rum and then 2 cups of boiling water. Stir until the butter mixture dissolves. Divide the buttered rum among 4 mugs. Garnish with the cinnamon sticks and serve.

Spiced Rum

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Grilled Broccoli

I probably would never fire up the grill just to do broccoli, but if I am looking for a good side dish to compliment my main fare, then it is a good choice.  In fact, just the act of grilling broccoli, or almost any food, makes it better, right?

I like to use just the spears, tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and a little garlic power.  For best results, put in a grill basket over direct heat on low.  Shake or toss a couple of times until done – what you end up with is a delicious, slightly charred flavor. You can also grill on a pan as shown below, or foil, using a medium heat.

Broccoli

 

Another way to enjoy grilled broccoli is on kabobs along with peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, or any other vegetable you like.

Kabobs

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Randy’s Veranda Flight Glasses Set

I really like trying flights of beer.

Tyler Tap Room

Tyler Tap Room, Durham, NC

Gordon Biersch Brewery

Gordon Biersch Brewery, Louisville, KY

Three Brothers Brewing

Three Brothers Brewing, Harrisonburg, VA
Outer Banks Brewing Station

Outer Banks Brewing Station, Kill Devil Hills, NC

Red Drum Taphouse

Red Drum Taphouse, Nags Head, NC

Sherwood

Sherwood Brewing Company, Shelby, MI

Great Baraboo

Great Baraboo Brewing, Clinton, MI

 

My first post on this blog was about trying flights on the veranda.  One of the gifts I received for Christmas was official Randy’s Veranda Flight Glass Sets. Now it has been too cold to enjoy flights on the veranda so I had to enjoy my flight by the warmth of the hearth. I look forward to enjoying many more flights with the official Randy’s Veranda Flight sets.

Randy's Veranda Flight Sets

Randy's Veranda Flight Sets

The brews for this flight included:

Estrella Damm Daura. Damm Brewing, Barcelona, Spain. Euro Pale Lager. ABV 5.4%. Gluten free beer.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale. New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, Colorado. Belgian Dark Ale. ABV 5.6%.

Sam Adams Winter Lager. Boston Beer Co., Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Bock. ABV 5.6%.

Founders Porter. Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, Michigan. American Porter. ABV 6.5%. IBU 45.

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My Favorite Brew

My Favorite Brew?

There are three different brews that I have made the statement “this could be the best beer I have ever had.”  The first one was 1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing, or better known as the makers of Fat Tire. 1554 falls in the category of Belgian Dark Ale.  The second one I made that statement about was Turbodog  Dark Brown Ale from Abita Brewing. Turbodog is classified as an English Brown Ale. The final one I boasted about was Yuengling Porter from Yuengling brewery.  This is considered an American Porter.

So how could I make a statement like that when they were all from different categories of styles? Is it possible to really like different styles of beer? Sure it is. So what is my favorite style of beer? Good question. I started looking at how many styles are classified. Depending on where you look, there are a lot of styles to choose from.  The Brewers Association Style Guidelines which categorizes beer for the Great American Beer Festival and the World Cup of Beer lists 84 categories plus 58 subcategories for a total of 142. That’s quite a lot of styles.

How do you know what category the beer you are drinking falls into? It can be difficult. Beer makers often use a more marketing-friendly term such as the 1554 which uses Enlightened Black Ale instead of the correct category name of Belgian Dark Ale. Sometimes it takes a little research to find the right classification. Good resources to use are TotalWine.com, CraftBeer.com, or BeerAdvocate.com

So which one was my favorite? I did a blind taste test and the results were:

1)    Turbodog Dark Brown Ale

2)    1554 Enlightened Black Ale

3)    Yuengling Porter

 

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Songs About Beer

I don’t normally listen to songs just because they are about beer, but it is an appropriate topic for this blog.  When I searched my iPod, I found more songs about beer than I would have ever guessed.

A few on my list includes:

Pretty Good at Drinkin’ BeerBilly Currington
I Like Beer Tom T. Hall
Beer for My Horses – Toby Keith
Beers Ago – Toby Keith
Beer in Mexico – Kenny Chesney
Keg in the Closet – Kenny Chesney
Beer on the Table – Josh Thompson
In Heaven There Is No BeerSoggy Bottom Boys
Beer Thirty – Brooks & Dunn
Beer – Psychostick
Pop-a-Top – Alan Jackson
Beer with Jesus – Thomas Rhett

I have a few others that have beer in the content but not in the title, such as:

Dirt Road AnthemJason Aldean
I Love this Bar – Toby Keith
All My Rowdy Friends are Coming Over Tonight – Hank Williams, Jr.

My favorite of both categories is Billy Currington’s People are Crazy with the line God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.

I do like to have music playing on the veranda.  Of course, then no one is happy with my shuffling song list. So I have spent some time developing different playlists that will keep everyone happy.  Another option I use is Pandora with a playlist called Classic Rock BBQ.

Whatever is playing on the veranda, it is heard through my Bose Soundlink speaker that I received as a gift. This Bluetooth-wireless speaker delivers incredible sound. It is lightweight, portable, and simple to use with my iPod or iPad.  The best part is that because it’s wireless, you do not have to have your device hooked up to the speakers, but instead use the Bluetooth to play music through the speakers from wherever you are in the house.

I suggest checking out some of those songs- you might find one that you want to add to your own veranda playlist.  So, whether you listen to songs about beer, or country music, or classic rock, nothing sets the mood like music playing in the background.

 Bose Soundlink Speakers System

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Gluten-Free Beer

I have never thought much about a gluten-free diet.  Thankfully, I have no issues with eating just about anything, but millions of people do.  I keep hearing about gluten-free diets and seeing products marketed as gluten-free and now at my local grocery store you can find a whole aisle of product devoted to being gluten-free.  With so much news, I decided to try going gluten-free for a month.  Well, about a week into the program, everything was fine, until one evening I wanted a beer and I discovered I couldn’t have one because it was not gluten-free. That was not going to work.  My quick research discovered there is gluten-free beer available.

The legal requirement to be considered gluten-free is less than 20ppm.  Some brews like Budwieser and Corona can be tested that low but if you are suffering from Celiac disease, you may not want to risk it.  There are also brewers who consider their product safe if it is made from rice or corn instead of wheat.  This is still being debated.

I found two gluten-free brews at the local market to test.

The first was Tweason’ Ale from Dogfish Brewery in Milton, Delware.  This is a Vegetable Style of beer.  As the bottle notes, you can definitely taste the strawberries and honey.  While the taste was good, it is not what I normally go for in a craft brew.

Tweason' Ale

The other one I tried was Estrella Damm Daura from Damm Brewing in Barcelona, Spain.  This is a Euro Pale Lager style of beer.  This has a more traditional lager taste and the Damm Brewing claims this beer has a gluten content of only 3ppm.  Estrella Damm Daura has won several awards as the best gluten-free beer.

Estrella Damm Duara

So if you are concerned about gluten in your drinks, give one of these a try.  Here is more information and resources for people suffering with Celiac disease: http://www.csaceliacs.info/

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Duck Commander Cigar

I would like to think that I don’t succumb to advertising pressure that I see in the everyday world, but when I saw the new Duck Commander cigar, I had to try one.  Why?  Because I love Duck Dynasty and the values and principles embodied by the Robertson clan.  I don’t watch a lot of television, but I do not miss an episode of this show.  Sometimes I even watch the reruns over and over.  I also just finished reading Happy, Happy, Happy, by the Robertson patriarch, Phil Robertson, and recently saw Willie Robertson speak at a men’s conference.

The Duck Commander cigar is handmade by Ted’s Cigars, which also makes other notable name brand cigars.  This cigar has a mild to medium strength flavor, and is produced in the Dominican Republic with the following specifications:

Wrapper:  Ecuadorian Habano
Size:  6 X 50 Toro
Flavor:  Medium
Filler:  United States and Dominican tobaccos

Duck Commander Cigar

This official Duck Commander cigar comes in an airtight glass tube, so no humidifier is needed.  See more about the Duck Commander cigar at www.tedscigars.com

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