Inception Balls – Food Within Food…

This is another HUGE crowd favorite at our weekly cookout.  With anywhere  from 15 – 30 guests on average, you cannot please everyone…or can you?
These are a great finger food that will keep everyone wondering “What was this magical experience?  What’s happening to me?”.  They are always the first item to go…and I always get requests for more.  Follow me, and you’ll get the same!

Inception Balls:


1lb Ground Chuck

3 Mozzarella Sticks – cut into 16 bite sized pieces

16 Small White Button Mushrooms – Stemmed and hollowed out with a spoon, removing the gills.

16 Strips of Bacon

Garlic & Herb Cream Cheese

BBQ Sauce



Garlic Powder


Preparing your balls

Take about an ounce of meat and sprinkle it with a little Salt, Pepper, and Garlic.  Take your bite sized mozzarella and wrap the meat around it, forming a meatball and leaving the cheese inside the center.  Create all 16 balls and set aside.


Grab your stemmed and hollowed out mushroom caps and spoon in some cream cheese into the center.  Do this for all 16 mushroom caps.  Be liberal…but not TOO liberal.  We want to be able to set our meatball down into this pocket.  However, you are the Isaac Newton of your Inception Balls!


Grab your meatballs and set them into your cream cheese filled mushrooms.  They should sit right up.

Grab your 16 slices of bacon and cut them in half.  Grab one half slice and wrap it around your Inception Ball from under the mushroom to over the top of the meatball, making sure for the two ends to create a seam on top.  Turn 90 degrees, grab another slice of bacon, and wrap it around the other exposed side, making sure that our bacon is covering all of the mushroom and meat.



Setup your grill for indirect heat.  If you are using charcoal (what I use and prefer), setup your coals on one side of the grill.  If you are using propane, turn on the burners for just one side or one half of your grill, depending on the size.  Let your grill heat up to and maintain a temperature of about 350 degrees.


Set your inception balls on the opposite side of the grill, so no direct heat is under them.  If you put these over direct heat, you have disgraced us all!

Keep your grill closed!

Let your Inception Balls cook for about 45 minutes.  Open your grill and glaze each Inception Ball with your favorite BBQ Sauce.  Close the grill and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.


Pull them off the grill and let them set for a few minutes before serving.  These will be molten lava on the inside if you eat them right off the grill.

Now – sit back and enjoy the praise!  VOILA!


Hot Butter Lollipop Chicken

This recipe is extremely easy and has just a few ingredients!  Your guests would never expect such a big awesome flavor comes from a 4 ingredient recipe.

It’s absolutely delicious and easy to eat!  Removing that extra skin and tendon gives us a clean handle to hold on to while we mow down and our hands stay gorgeous and grease free!  The only napkins you’ll need are for your drool when you smell these babies cooking!

Next stop:  Flavor Country!

Hot Butter Lollipop Chicken:


  • Chicken Drums
  • 2 Sticks of Butter
  • 1 Cup of Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup of Soy Sauce


The hardest part of this recipe is to lollipop the chicken.  Once you figure out the first one, the rest are easy!  About 2-3 inches down the leg bone, take a sharp knife and cut around it.  You’ll start to see the meat, skin, and tendons separate.  Keep going in a circle until you can see that the skin, meat, and tendons have all separated from the part that you’re keeping.  Take your thumb and push up from the cut to the top of the bone.  Once you reach the top of the bone, take your thumb and push the skin up and over!  It’ll look like this.


Take your butter, hot sauce, soy sauce and put them in a microwave safe bowl.  Nuke it until the butter is melted.  Yes – of course you could melt it on the stove top, but we’re all about making this easy!  Boom – this is your sauce and marinade.

Put your chicken in a Ziploc bag, pour in half of your sauce, seal, and place in the fridge for 4 hours or so.  We’re keeping the other half to use as a baste when our chicken is cooking.

Setup your grill for classic indirect heat.  We only want heat on one side of our grill.  We’re going to place our chicken on the opposite end and close the lid.  That indirect heat will slowly cook our chicken to juicy heaven!


Once your coals are mostly grey and you’re holding a temp of around 350, place your chicken on the grill.  The marinade will have clumped by now because of the cold temperature in the fridge solidifying the fat in the butter.

Close your grill lid and let the chicken cook.  Take your leftover sauce that hasn’t touched the chicken and baste your chicken every 10 minutes or so.  We really want this flavor to cook in!  After about 50 minutes or so, your chicken should be done.  It’s pretty hard to screw this one up!  To be certain, an instant read thermometer is good to have on hand.  Make sure your chicken has hit 165 degrees and you’re golden!

Wow!  Look at this!  Buttery, spicy, salty, goodness!  It’s so juicy, packed with flavor, and easy to do!  Check this one out!


Loaded Baked Potato Salad

If you’re looking for a classic side dish with a new attitude – this is the one for you!  Potato Salad is a classic side for any BBQ, but this takes it up a notch and is well worth making.  We take all of those delicious flavors you get in a steakhouse baked potato and combine them into a flavor exploding potato salad!  I never end up having leftovers with this, no matter how much I make.  Ever…  It has bacon and bacon wins…always.  ON TO THE POTATO SALAD!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad


  • 5 Yellow Potatoes
  • 1/2 lb Bacon
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Cups Sour Cream
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Cup Chopped Celery
  • Diced half of a Large Red Onion
  • 1 tspn Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tspn Sugar
  • 1 tsnp Salt
  • 1 tspn Pepper
  • 1 tspn Garlic Powder


Cut your potatoes into bite size pieces.  I like to use yellow/gold potatoes in this recipe because they have a nice soft and creamy texture.  That is what we’re looking for here!


Bring a pot of water to a boil and toss in your potatoes.  Let them cook until they are just fork tender, strain them, and let them cool down to room temperature.


BACON!  Get that bacon sizzling and fill your home with that smoky and artery clogging aroma!


A moment of silence…  Now cut it to bits like you’ve lost all sense!


Now lets combine all of these ingredients and devour it!


I like to refrigerate it for a few hours to let the flavors combine, but it is absolutely acceptable to smear it into your face right away!

Well, here you have it:  The best potato salad around.  You’ll never buy that slop from the store again once you give this tasty morsel a try!  Creamy, cheesy, crunchy, and the perfect addition to a burger or anything!




Fresh Herb Vinaigrette Pork Filet Mignon

After building my raised garden this year, I’ve been (impatiently) waiting to start using my fresh veggies and herbs!  There is just nothing like garden fresh!  N-O-T-H-I-N-G!  I had the opportunity to try something new while incorporating some of my garden children (Plants, people…  No cannibalism here.  Not until the zombie apocalypse).  Speaking of – what is your favorite zombie movie?  I’m still partial to the 1978 version of…wait…we’re getting off track.  Back to the pork…

If you’re looking for a way to keep your pork tender, flavorful, and juicy…this is the one.  After pulling this off, nobody will be asking “Where’s the beef?”.  This marinade is so packed with amazing flavor, your pork will soak it up and become a bacon wrapped dream come true.  You’ll wonder why you ever ate Aunt Mildred’s dried out pork chops.  We never did like her much, did we?  ON WITH THE FOOD!

Fresh Herb Vinaigrette Pork Filet Mignon


8 Pork Filet Mignons

3 tblspn Dijon Mustard

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Water

The Juice of 1 Lemon

1 tblspn Chopped Rosemary

1 tblspn Chopped Licorice Basil (you can also use regular Basil)

1 tblspn Chopped Garlic

1 tspn Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

1 tspn Salt

1 tspn Red Pepper (optional)

Fresh Rosemary and Licorice Basil from my garden:

IMAG2759_1  IMAG2760_1


Grab a mixing bowl and add your olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, rosemary, basil, garlic, salt, and red pepper.  The red pepper is to give a little heat on the back end.  It isn’t necessary…if your soul is weak.  If you do not have licorice basil, regular basil will do just fine.  Licorice basil has more of an anise flavor present.  It compliments the vinaigrette the way you do your wife when she walks out in that favorite dress of hers…that she only wears once…and then needs to buy a new one.


Whisk thoroughly until the vinaigrette comes together and emulsifies.  You will now add in your water and whisk again to combine.  It is not common in a vinaigrette to add water, though some chefs do add small amounts at times to thin it out and help level the strong flavors.  In this case, we are doing it to thin out our vinaigrette and help it easily cover our pork.


Put your pork cuts into a Ziploc bag, pour in your marinade, remove as much air as possible and seal your bag.  Place in the fridge and marinade for at least 4 hours.


Setup your grill for direct heat.  Make sure to leave a spot open that we can move the pork filets to that will not be directly over your heat source.  As always, I’m using charcoal.


Once your coals are ready, put those beautiful chops directly over your heat!  We want a medium to medium high heat.  Place the back of your hand over your heat – If it takes 3 – 5 seconds until it becomes too hot and you have to remove your hand, then our heat level is on point!


Cook about 4 to 5 minutes a side making sure to get some nice grill marks.  After cooking on each side, move your chops away from the heat source, close your grill, and finish cooking.  Our grill is now acting as our oven to finish the cooking process.  This ensures we do not dry the outside out before the inside is done cooking.

Let them cook another 6 minutes or so.  Grab your meat thermometer and make sure you have reached a temperature of 140 degrees.  Remove your chops and let them rest for about 5 minutes.  The cooking process will continue and they’ll reach around 145 degrees.  This will give you a nice medium pork filet.  Stop drying out your pork!  However, if you like it done a bit more; go a few more degrees…it’ll still be juicy!


This filet gets the smoky flavor from the bacon, the tang from the Dijon, the light citrus from the lemon, and the freshness from those amazing herbs and garlic!

Well – there it is!  You are now the Pete Sampras of Pork!  Hungry?

Italian Dressing Grilled Chicken Breast

Are you looking for an easy way to achieve juicy plump breasts but don’t have a plastic surgeon?  This is the next best thing!  Hey – you’re already beautiful…so eat some food and be happy!  This takes such little effort and is almost impossible to botch!  Try it out and change the way you think about grilled chicken!  How often have you eaten a tough, dry, and flat flavored chicken breast?  The horror.  The pain!  Try this out and you’ll instantly have your staple for chicken breast recipes!

Italian Dressing Grilled Chicken Breast


  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Cups of Italian Dressing


Clean your chicken removing any excess fat.  We want these cuts lean and pretty!


Place your meat into a Ziploc bag and pour in the Italian Dressing.  Place into the fridge and marinade for the next 4 hours.  You don’t want to marinade beyond this as the vinegar in the dressing can cook and change the texture of your chicken.


Setup your grill so you have a hot zone for direct heat and another open area away from the coals so you can cook indirectly.  If you have a gas grill, turn on only half of your burners.


Once your grill is heated and ready (coals are 3/4 grey), place your chicken breast directly over the heat.  We want about a medium to medium high heat.  The way we know the level of heat is by placing the back of your hand over your coals or burners.  If it takes 3-5 seconds before its so hot you have to move your hand, that’s what we’re looking for.

Cook about 5 minutes on each side and then move away from the coals, so we can shut the grill lid and cook them indirectly for about another 6-10 minutes depending on how hot your grill is.  You can baste them every few minutes with more Italian Dressing to enhance the flavor!

Remove your breasts from the grill.   You can finish with a little salt and pepper.  Serve and win the hearts of many!


Cheesy Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

Portobello mushrooms aren’t the most inexpensive mushroom, but when you are looking to kick it up a notch and really shine your guests on; this is the perfect way to do it!  Fire up these fungi and instantly become irresistibly attractive.

Cheesy Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms:


  • 6 Portobello Mushrooms
  • 1lb Ground Country Pork Breakfast Sausage
  • 1 8oz Block of Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1 tblspn Ancho Chili Powder
  • 1 tspn Garlic Powder
  • 1 Cup of Diced Celery
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Melted Butter


Brown your sausage in a pan.  Pour the sausage into a bowl and mix in the cream cheese, monterey jack cheese, celery, ancho chili powder, and garlic powder.

Use your super human strength and remove the stalks from your mushrooms.  You’re so strong!


Generously pack your mushrooms with your filling then top with bread crumbs and drizzle with your melted butter.  The butter will help the bread crumbs brown while cooking.  Nobody likes a pale bread crumb.  We want them to look Brazilian.


Setup your grill for indirect cooking.  Start your coals on one side of the grill leaving the other side open.  If you’re using propane, turn on only half of your burners.  Let your charcoal start and become mostly grey.

Place your mushrooms on the side of the grill opposite your heat.  Close the lid and try to maintain an internal temp of 350-375 degrees.


After about 20 minutes check on your mushrooms.  The bread crumb topping should be golden brown and your mushrooms should feel tender like your wife’s…heart.


Pull them off the grill and serve while still warm!  If you’re really looking to impress – serve with a Bone-In Ribeye Filet!

shroom IMAG2658

Hungry yet?!

Grilled and Creamy Stuffed Bell Pepper

Looking for an easy, cost effective, and delicious way to appease your pepper loving guests?  This one will do it!  The creamy queso rice, salty and spicy chorizo, and the fresh bell pepper are the perfect vehicle on the grill to soak up that popping smoky flavor!  I love grabbing these peppers fresh from the garden.  You can beat your kids but you can NEVER beat your own organically grown vegetables.  I’m joking!  Organic meat is better…

Grilled and Creamy Stuffed Bell Pepper


  • 5 Bell Peppers
  • 4 Cups Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1lb Chorizo
  • 2 Packs of Knorr’s Rice Sides – White Cheddar Queso
  • 1 tblspn Ancho Chili Powder


Brown your Chorizo and drain the fat.  Cook your rice following the instructions.  If you cannot find this specific brand, use your favorite cheesy rice pack.  They only take about 7 minutes and work well with this recipe.  Add in 2 cups of Monterey Jack Cheese, your Ancho Chili Powder, and Chorizo.  Mix thoroughly.


Cut the tops off of your Green Peppers and make sure all of the seeds and ribs are removed.  Generously stuff each pepper with your rice and chorizo stuffing.  This ain’t no sissy pepper.


Setup your grill for indirect heat.  Let your grill heat up to about 350 and then place your peppers on the opposite end of the grill, away from the coals.  If you are using gas, only turn the burners on one side/half of your grill, placing the peppers on the opposite end.  Close your grill lid and let it work it’s magic!


After about an hour: **MAGIC**  **POOF** A PURPLE UNICORN?  No!  Your peppers – and they will look like this!  I used a smoke pack (which you can read the “how to” in my tips section) for that added smoky flavor, but it’s not necessary…if you’re a wimp!


Add your remaining cheese to the tops of the bad boys, close the grill, and let that beautiful cheese melt!  (I just had the “Roll that beautiful bean footage” line go through my head)


Hey – you’re a pro now!  Remove from the grill, serve, and Uncle Charles will never make fun of your cooking again!


Dr. Pepper Chicken

Looking for a super simple recipe that will make your chicken juicy, super tender, and full of flavor?  Look no further!  This one will keep your guests guessing what that amazing flavor is and how you were able to keep your chicken SO JUICY!

Dr. Pepper Chicken


3 – 4lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 can of Dr. Pepper

1/4 Cup Soy Sauce

2 tspn Garlic Powder


Combine the Dr. Pepper, soy sauce, and garlic powder in a bowl and mix.  Set your marinade aside.

Clean your chicken breasts by cutting off any excess fat.


Place your breasts (the chicken) into a Ziploc bag and pour in your marinade.  Put the bag in the fridge and let it marinade for 4-5 hours.


Heat up your grill and put these bad mamma jammas on!  I put them directly over the medium-high heat to get some marks and then finished cooking them by putting the breasts to the side and closing the grill.


After about 20 minutes (though this will vary grill to grill, so use a meat thermometer), the chicken is done and absolutely DELISH!  Make your pappy proud and grill this up for father’s day!

Dr. Pepper Chicken
Dr. Pepper Chicken