He’s a former United States Marine turned Grilling EXPERT and Author of GRILL SEEKER: Basic Training for Everyday Grilling.
Matt Eads joins us in the kitchen to share the recipes for Moink Balls, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers and more!
About Matt Eads:
Eads enlisted in the Marines when he was just 17 and spent the next 13 years fighting in some of the most dangerous warzones in the world: Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Bosnia. He wrote GRILL SEEKER because he wanted to bring people together.
“Grilling brings people together in the same way that sharing a tent with a dozen other troops brings people of different backgrounds together during war. People from all walks of life find common ground around a grill,” says Eads. “But despite the unity to be found around a flame, too many people resign their grill to burger or hot dog duty on a long weekend—not realizing the limitless possibilities a grill presents. I want to change that, so others can get as much enjoyment from grilling as I do.”
But despite the unity to be found around a flame, too many people resign their grill to burger or hot dog duty on a long weekend—not realizing the limitless possibilities a grill presents. I want to change that, so others can get as much enjoyment from grilling as I do.”
The focus of GRILL SEEKER is here to show viewers that gourmet grilling doesn’t have to be just a weekend activity. They’re also the reasons he started the United by Flame movement on social media (#unitedbyflame).
Bacon Wrapped Chorizo and Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Poppers
It’s a universal truth that everything is better with bacon. Seriously, have you ever been disappointed when you spotted bacon on a dish? This is especially true for grilling. That’s why, when I make jalapeño poppers for my friends and family, I use a half slice of bacon to wrap these fresh-off-the-grill treats.
Filled with a blend of cheeses, chorizo, and chives, there’s no resisting these classic tailgate treats. Simple to make and a guaranteed crowd pleaser, this recipe is a perfect way to try out two-zone cooking for novice grillseekers. With just enough chorizo and jalapeno to bring the heat without overpowering your palate, these poppers will make you the hit of any party, tailgate, or dinner.
So, fire up the grill and get poppin’ – bet you can’t eat just one!
12 Large Jalapenos
½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup cheddar cheese
½ cup jack cheese
½ cup crumbled and cooked chorizo
¼ cup finely chopped chives
1 Tbsp. BBQ rub (Page XYZ) plus a few shakes
6 slices thin cut bacon, cut in half
1. Cut Jalapenos into a boat, remove seeds and veins but leave stems on.
2. In mixing bowl, mix together cream cheese, jack cheese, cheddar cheese, chorizo crumbles, chives and BBQ rub.
3. Stuff jalapeno boats with equal parts of the cheese mixture and place into freezer for 30 – 40 minutes. This step is crucial in order to allow the bacon to crisp while cooking.
4. Light grill and set up for two zone cooking. Establish temperature at 350° F
5. Remove jalapeño boats from freezer and wrap each with ½ piece of bacon. Secure bacon with toothpick.
6. Dust bacon wrapped boats with light coat of BBQ rub. Place on grill over indirect heat.
7. Grill for 20 minutes or until bacon is crisp and cheese is melting.
8. Remove from grill and serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce, I love these with Ranch dressing.
Cilantro Lime Grilled Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables, but they don’t seem to find their way to the grill often. It’s time for that to change.
This recipe kicks up traditional sweet potato flavor with a zesty citrus glaze. Remember to boil the sweet potato wedges before you grill them: boiling helps the flesh absorb the glaze and creates the perfect texture to finish on the grill.
Quick-cooking and bursting with flavor, these are a great alternative to traditional fries that even picky eaters will fall for. It’s also a healthy side dish that you can serve with confidence.
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼ inch wedges
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, reserving 1 teaspoon
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. of fresh lime juice
2 Tsp. of lime zest
1 Tsp. soy sauce
½ Tsp. savory seasoning
½ Tsp. garlic powder
1. Light grill and prepare for medium direct heat.
2. Combine ingredients for glaze into mixing bowl and whisk together thoroughly.
3. In large saucepan, bring 6 cups water and 1 tablespoon salt to a hard boil. Add sweet potato wedges, return to hard boil and set timer for 3 minutes. Remove and pat dry.
4. Toss wedges with glaze until fully coated, and place on grill directly over medium heat. Grill each side until a nice dark char and grill marks form, about 5 minutes per side.
5. Remove from grill, brush on another coat of glaze, garnish with reserved cilantro.
*Tip – Char some lime halves on the grill while you’re grilling the potatoes and serve with alongside the potato wedges. The charred lime juice brings an added layer of flavor to the already delicious potatoes.
Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken
The word huli means turn over in Hawaiian. It’s no surprise then, to learn that this dish was traditionally cooked on a rotisserie over an open flame in Hawaii. I grew to love the savory and sweet taste of this chicken when I visited Hawaii as a Marine. I’d pull over at nearly every roadside chicken joint to feast on Huli Huli chicken till I was ready to burst at the seams.
There’s no need to buy a fancy rotisserie for this dish: I’ve adapted the recipe to create the traditional Hawaiian BBQ pit taste without the expense of a bunch of equipment. Make this at your next backyard BBQ and wait for your guests to marvel over the unique flavors. Serve with or without grass skirts and coconut bras.
6 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in half
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup ketchup
½ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
½ cup pineapple juice
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 Tsp. dried mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1. Combine all ingredients (minus chicken and green onions) in large mixing bowl and whisk together thoroughly. Set aside ½ cup of sauce in refrigerator for glazing.
2. Cut chicken filets in half, and place in sealable plastic bag. Pour sauce over chicken and place in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
*Because chicken breasts are not uniform in thickness from one end to the other, cut them in half. This allows the thinner pieces which will cook faster, to be removed from the grill sooner than the thicker pieces and prevents them from drying out.
3. Light grill and set up for two zone heat. Take glaze out of refrigerator and allow to come up to room temperature as your grill heats up.
4. Remove chicken from plastic bag, and discard sauce. Grill chicken breast pieces over direct heat, flipping every 2 minutes until internal temp reaches 150° F. As the individual pieces reach the 150° F mark, move them to a plate until all pieces are off the direct heat.
5. Return chicken to the indirect heat side of grill and glaze with sauce that was set aside. Close lid and allow to cook for 5 minutes or until temperature reaches 165° F
6. Plate, garnish with sliced green onions and serve immediately.
Hickory Smoked Jack Cheese MOINK balls
First things first: There is no MOINK animal. Don’t ask for it at your local butcher shop, you’ll get a weird look. MOINK balls get their name from the sounds the components make: Beef (moo) and Pork (oink). Put them together and you get a combination that’s hard to beat.
Glazed with a pepper jelly and wrapped in bacon (because if you can’t wrap it in bacon, what’s the point?), these appetizers are going to go fast at your next cookout. I once watched a friend devour 13 of these hearty appetizers in one sitting and legit thought he was going to burst, so be sure to account for those with big appetites when you’re making them.
I’ve added a twist on the typical MOINK recipe, by stuffing these delicious concoctions with cheese. Why? Because I like cheese. “I like cheese” is my default response to any question I can’t answer. Try it out sometime: “I like cheese” It’s a surprisingly good answer for many of life’s questions, and certainly a topic changer when you’re in a pinch.
½ lb. ground beef, at least 20% fat
½ lb. pork sausage
½ cup breadcrumbs
¾ cup pepper jelly
¼ cup sweet onion, diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 medium finely diced jalapeño, seeded and veined (optional)
2 cloves freshly minced garlic
8 cubes Pepper Jack cheese cut into ½” square cubes
8 slices thin cut bacon cut in half
2 Tbsp. BBQ rub (page XYZ) or your favorite rub, plus a few shakes
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1. Heat oil in small sauté pan, adding jalapeno, onion and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes or until onions become translucent. Set aside.
2. In mixing bowl, add ground beef, sausage, breadcrumbs, egg, BBQ rub and sauté mix. Mix thoroughly and divide into 8 equal portions.
3. Lightly form each portion into a ball and insert cheese cube into center of ball ensuring that the meat “seals” the cheese all around.
4. Place balls in freezer for 30 – 40 minutes. This step is critical in order for the bacon to crisp during the cooking process. If bacon and meatballs are the same temperature when they go on the grill, the meatball with be done before the bacon is crisp.
5. Light grill and set up for indirect heat, add wood chunks. Place drip pan under cooking area to catch bacon grease and avoid the mess in your grill. Maintain grill temperature at 325° F
6. Wrap each ball with 2 half slices of bacon. By cutting the bacon in half the balls can be wrapped completely by wrapping the first half of the slice in a north and south direction, and the second half in an east and west direction on the ball. Secure bacon with tooth pick.
7. Lightly dusk MOINK balls with a few shakes of the BBQ rub.
8. Place on grill on the indirect heat side, close lid and let cook for 20 minutes. Check internal temperature, we’re looking for about 145° – 150° F internal.
9. Glaze MOINK balls with pepper jelly, close lid and allow to cook for another 5 minutes or until internal temperature is 160° F which is safe for ground pork.
10. Remove from grill and serve hot.
Tip* Warming the jelly in the microwave for 30 seconds makes it much easier to glaze.
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