Putting More Fruit to the Flame


From tasty snacks to expertly-grilled meats and vegetables, we’ve got tailgating covered this season…at least almost. What would tailgating be without a killer beverage to help cheer your favorite team to victory? So, we’re turning our attention to the beverage category.

Staying with our past theme of grilled fruit, here are a couple more drinks that include smoky-flavored garnishes. The first is inspired by a Northwest classic from our friends in the Evergreen state, while the second evokes fall afternoons in the southwest.


Grilled Washington Apple
Makes 1 cocktail
• 1 oz. Canadian whiskey
• 1 oz. sour apple schnapps
• 1 oz. cranberry juice
• Grilled green apple cross-section for garnish
• Ice

• Pour liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker and then fill with ice. Shake well.
• Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or serve over ice in a lowball glass (or rocks glass).
• Garnish with grilled apple.

Grilled Lemon/Lime Margarita
Makes 1 cocktail
• 2 oz. Reposado tequila
• 3 grilled lemon rounds
• 3 grilled lime rounds
• 1/2 oz. agave nectar
• 1 teaspoon orange liqueur (such as Cointreau or Combier)
• 1 tablespoon lime-salt-sugar (recipe below)
• Grilled lemon and lime rounds for garnish
• Brown sugar for grilling

• Dust the lime and lemon rounds with brown sugar and lightly grill each side.
• Once well-marked on the grill, let citrus rounds cool.
• Muddle two of the grilled lime and lemon rounds in a shaker.
• Fill shaker with ice and add in agave nectar, tequila and orange liqueur. Shake well.
• Rim the edge of a lowball glass (or rocks glass) with lime-salt-sugar (recipe below) and fill with fresh ice.
• Strain contents into glass and garnish with remaining rounds of grilled lime and lemon.

• Blend 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 tablespoons sugar and zest of one lime in food processor.
• To rim the glass edge, take a lime wedge and run it along the rim and then and dip the edge of the glass in a small plate of the salt mixture.

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    Take the Farm! Fresh Veggies Meet Tailgating

    Single kohlrabi over wooden background
    Kohlrabi…a member of the turnip family.

    Nothing quite goes with slow roasting, smoking, charring and searing quite like a nice cut of meat. That being said, we like to think of ourselves as well-rounded grillers and therefore have decided to dish up some tailgate fair that’s herbivore friendly and incredibly tasty. It turns out veggies and the grill are also a match made in BBQ heaven.

    Both veggies we’ve chosen to grill up are seasonal from September through November.

    Our first recipe is inspired by the Brussels sprout trend – the diminutive veggie recently re-energized by hip food bloggers.

    Sriracha Roasted Brussels Sprouts
    8 Servings
    • 2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • Extra olive oil for oiling grill grates
    • 2 tablespoon sriracha sauce (or make your own using this recipe)
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Metal or wooden skewers for grilling (If wooden, soak in water for 30 minutes prior to using)

    • Remove stems and any loose or imperfect outer leaves from Brussels sprouts.
    • Place in a large microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 3 minutes.
    • When finished, place the sprouts in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. This will also help maintain vivid green color.
    • Once cool, drain and dry Brussels sprouts.
    o You can do this step ahead of time and then refrigerate the cooked Brussels sprouts until ready to grill.
    • To prep for grill, add olive oil, sriracha sauce, honey, garlic and salt to the Brussels sprouts and toss until well-coated.
    • Remove Brussels sprouts from sauce and skewer them, leaving about a half inch between each.
    o Reserve the remaining sauce to brush the Brussels sprouts with later.
    • Fill grill with Cowboy Charcoal and light.
    • Once charcoal is ashed over, place skewers on the grill, cover and grill for 5 minutes on each side.
    • Remove skewers from grill and brush with remaining sauce and serve.

    The next recipe gives some love to a lesser known veggie, kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is member of the turnip family that has a texture similar to a broccoli stem, but much milder and sweeter. We’re putting it on the grill, and it just might be our next favorite veggie!

    Balsamic Grilled Kohlrabi
    Serves 8-12
    • 2 large kohlrabi
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Shredded parmesan cheese for garnish

    • Fill a large sauce pan with about 1 inch of water and bring to a boil.
    • Peal kohlrabi and slice into 1/2″ thick slices and place in a steamer basket.
    • Turn water down to simmer and let steam about 3 minutes
    • While kohlrabi is steaming, load the grill with Cowboy Hardwood Lump Charcoal and light.
    • In a bowl, mix together garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
    • When kohlrabi is done steaming, remove slices and place in a shallow dish.
    • Pour the olive oil mixture over the kohlrabi and coat well.
    • Place kohlrabi on the grill for about 2 minutes per side.
    • Remove from grill and serve, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper and topping with parmesan cheese.

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      Tailgate Cookin’ with Cowboy

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      It’s one of our favorite times of year. The air gets crisp, leaves turn colors and football fans from all corners of the country to rejoice in team spirit! We decided to turn tailgating on its head and help you go all out – from snacks and sides to main entrées, cocktails and desserts; we’re giving you the lowdown all month long!

      We’ll also be sharing some of the most outrageous tailgating set-ups from around the country, so make sure you’re tracking The Roundup.

      For this post, we’re trying out a new trend in tailgating – street-style snacks. Stemming from the food truck craze, street-style food is predicted to make its way onto the tailgate scene this season.

      Tacos Al Cowboy Pastor
      Makes 12-15 servings
      Marinade Ingredients:
      • 7 ounces achiote marinade (available at Mexican specialty markets)
      • 1 can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (reserve 8 tablespoons liquid from can)
      • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
      • 3 garlic cloves, rough chopped
      • 1 teaspoon cumin
      • 2 teaspoons chili powder
      • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
      • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
      • 1 1/2 cups water
      • 1 pineapple, sliced into quarter inch rounds

      Other Ingredients:
      • 3 pounds thinly sliced pork shoulder
      • Package tortillas
      • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
      • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 2 medium red onions, sliced into quarter inch rounds

      Taco Toppings:
      • 3 cups pico de gallo or salsa verde, for topping
      • 1 cup chopped cilantro, for topping
      • Sour cream, for topping
      • 3 to 4 limes sliced into wedges, for garnish

      • In a blender, combine the achiote, 1/2 cup oil, water, 6 chipotle chilies and the 8 tablespoons of reserved adobo sauce and blend until smooth.
      • Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano and 2 teaspoons salt to blender. Blend until well combined.
      • Chop half of the pineapple into medium sized chunks and add to blender. Blend by pulsing until pineapple is just broken up and combined, but not liquefied.
      • Coat both sides of pork slices with the marinade
      • Transfer the meat to an airtight container and refrigerate for 1 hour
      • Set your grill up with two temperature zones by piling charcoal on one side of your grill, leaving the other side open. The side with the charcoal will be used for direct grilling (directly over hot coals) and the other side for indirect grilling (away from hot coals).
      • Brush the onion slices with vegetable oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.
      • Grill onions over direct heat until grill marks appear and onions brown (about 2 minutes each side)
      • Transfer the onions to the cooler, indirect grilling side to finish cooking.
      • Follow the same process for the pineapple slices. Brush with oil. First grill over direct heat until grill marks appear. Move to cooler, indirect grilling side to finish cooking.
      • Depending on the thickness of your sliced pork shoulder. If your slices are thick, you may want to start your pork out on the direct heat side of the grill before finishing them over indirect heat. If your slices are thin, you can opt to cook them over indirect heat since they could quickly burn over direct heat.
      • Once pork is finished cooking, transfer it along with the onions and pineapple to a cutting board and chop into small pieces. Season with salt.
      • Transfer to large serving platter.
      • Set up pork, onions, pineapple, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, lime wedges and tortillas for a build-your-own-taco bar.

      Cowboy’s Steamed BBQ Pork Buns
      Serves 10-12
      *It is best to prep this recipe the night before the game and bring the uncooked, filled buns to finish at the tailgate.

      Marinade Ingredients:
      • 2 tablespoons Char Siu sauce
      • 1 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
      • 1 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
      • 3 teaspoons oyster sauce
      • 1 tablespoon sugar

      Filling Ingredients:
      • 8 ounces pork belly
      • 1 root ginger chopped and soaked with 1 tablespoon of warm water to make ginger water
      • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
      • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

      Dough Ingredients:
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
      • 2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
      • 3/4 cup warm water
      • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1/8 teaspoon salt
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
      • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

      Marinade Directions:
      • In a large bowl, mix all marinade ingredients together
      • Add pork to the marinade bowl and coat thoroughly
      • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours
      Waiting meat is marinating, prepare your dough.

      Dough Directions:
      We will be making our dough using a 2 step process. We will first make the sponge and then it will be added to the remaining dough ingredients.
      • To create your sponge, combine yeast, 1 teaspoon of the sugar, 1/4 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of the warm water. Let stand for 30 minutes.
      • To your sponge, add in vegetable oil, salt and remaining warm water, flour and sugar.
      • Knead until dough surface is smooth and elastic.
      • Roll over in a greased bowl, and let stand until triple in size or about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
      • Punch down dough, and spread out on a floured board.
      • Sprinkle baking powder evenly on surface, and knead for 5 minutes.
      • Divide dough in half, creating 2 halves.
      • Divide each half into 12 parts (approximately 24 total). Shape each part into a ball with smooth surface up. Put each ball on a wax paper square. Let stand covered until doubled in size, approximately 30 minutes.

      Pork Belly Directions:
      • Prepare fire with Cowboy Hardwood Lump Charcoal and brush grill grate with oil
      • Add the pork to the grill and cook for about 30 minutes until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
      • Remove pork from grill and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes
      • Cut the roasted pork belly into small cubes and mix with the filling ingredients. Set aside.

      Steaming Directions:
      • Take a dough ball, press down the center and place one scoop of the filling in the middle; seal the dough completely by pinching the top together.
      • Brush the bottom of bun with oil and place in steamer. Use wax paper squares to prevent sticking. If you do not have a steamer, you can improvise using the double-broiler technique and a metal colander.
      • On a stove top or over a hot grill fire, place metal colander inside pan. Fill with water to a level just below the metal colander and heat water to boiling.
      • Allow water to create steam and steam buns for 15-20 minutes
      • Once done, remove from heat and let buns sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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        Hassel Free Guide to Year-Round Grilling

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        As you know, we LOVE grilling and smoking and everything that comes along with it. We aren’t fond of the idea of trying to jam pack all that grilling goodness into just 3 short months. We prefer to make the love last all year with a 365 approach to grilling. Many Americans share our passion and are choosing to grill later into the fall and winter months – I guess everyone can’t get enough grilling under their belt!

        If you’ve got a craving for BBQ that lasts all year long, here are a few tips and tricks for adapting your grill from season to season.

        Keep It All in the Season
        Grilling produce and meat that’s in-season will make year-round grilling tastier, easier and more interesting. By grilling for the season, you might stumble upon a new favorite recipe, like grilled pumpkin or squash. How do you know what’s in season? The best place to start is by doing a little online research for the season and your location, once you have an idea of what you should be looking for, the produce manager in your local grocery store is your next stop.

        Add More Fuel to the Fire
        People often forget that colder weather means it will take more energy to reach and maintain the desired cooking temperature in your grill or smoker. So, make sure you have plenty of extra charcoal on hand and prepare for at least a 25-30% longer than normal cook time. If you’re planning on smoking overnight in harsh weather, we’d suggest looking into purchasing a fireproof blanket to wrap your smoker in to ensure the temp stays consistent.

        Watch the Overhangs!
        It might be obvious, but bears repeating. Be sure to check overhead before firing up your grill. Avoid any overhangs or heavily snow-covered tree branch as melting sheets of snow and ice would definitely put a damper on your dinner. We also find that having a good shovel and rock salt to toss on the ground of our workspace is very beneficial.

        If you love year-round grilling, follow us on The Roundup all yearlong for grilling 365. Happy grilling!!

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          Labor-less Grilling for the Holiday


          As Labor Day approaches, we at Cowboy Charcoal want you to work smarter, not harder. We understand that you labor all year long, and Labor Day is meant to be a day for relaxing. So, we’re deeming it official Labor-less Day at Cowboy, and we’re letting the grill do the hard work! We urge you to do the same.

          We encourage you to forego hours of marinating and opt for a menu that’s low maintenance, but not low in flavor. We’re putting a flavorful twist on family favorites!

          Cowboy’s Jalapeño Poppin’ Burger

          • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef chuck
          • 2 to 3 fresh jalapeños, finely diced
          • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
          • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
          • 1 egg
          • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
          • Salt and pepper to taste
          • 4 brioche buns
          • 1/2 cup cream cheese
          • Any additional burger toppings or condiments

          • In a large bowl combine beef, egg and salt and pepper until well combined.
          • Add in jalapeño, onion, cheddar cheese and bread crumbs until thoroughly combined. (Mixture should be firm but slightly sticky. If it’s too dry after mixing in the bread crumbs add a small amount of olive oil.)
          • Form mixture into equally sized 4-inch patties.
          • Prepare grill with Cowboy Hardwood Lump Charcoal and once charcoal is ashed over, place patties onto clean, oiled grates until done. Flipping patties halfway through.
          • When patties are almost finished, place buns on grill to toast them lightly.
          • Remove buns and spread with a thin layer of cream cheese.
          • Remove patties from grill and place on buns, adding your choice of toppings and condiments.
          • And now the most important step…kick back and enjoy!

          If you’re looking for something a little more daring, give this Andouille and Beef Burger with Spicy Mayo and Caramelized Onions a try! This mouth-watering burger features cubed Andouille sausage AND ground beef! YUM!

          Or if you’re in the mood for a hot dog, give our Lobster Haute Dog recipe a try! Either way, you can’t go wrong. Tell us…how are you spending your Labor Day?

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