Cooking Stories

Did you know that over 150 million Americans consume coffee on a regular basis? Needless to say, Texans are no exception. Even though the  Lone Star State is mostly known for its sumptuous BBQ, coffee is one of the beverages on the top of the list that can start any Texan’s morning or spruce up their afternoon. But what do you do when a coffee machine is nowhere in sight? Well, it’s time to improvise.

With a steep increase in growth of 115% for the cold brew industry, that fresh hit of coffee no longer needs to leave java lovers sweating for their cup. Here are a few simple ways to prepare the perfect cold brew without a coffee machine.

Prepare a Cuppa for the Next Day

This cold brew method is the ideal way to get that delicious cup of coffee ready for the next day, as it takes a cool 12 hours to steep. This method makes use of cold water and is the ideal summer companion. Coffee lovers simply need two glass jars, a non-textured dishtowel, and a few clothes pegs. Stirring utensils and a decent portion of ground coffee make up the remainder. The trick is to simply add a cup of water for every 25 grams of coffee. Give this mixture a good stir, cover, and then let it rest for 12 hours. Once this is done, the fun starts as the cloth is fixed to the second jar with the pegs. The cloth should form a hollow of at least 4 to 5 inches in order to be effective. Once this is done, the homemade cold brew is ready.

Variations to the Cold Brew to Spice it Up

The first and most effective way to get the most out of a cold brew on a hot day is by adding a few blocks of ice. To take it to the next level and perhaps even serve it as a delicious beverage at a barbecue, simply add some flavored syrups. Chocolate and caramel complement coffee well, as well as a homemade vanilla bean mix.

When the Kids Go to Sleep

There are two beverages that simply just seem like they’re made for each other and they are coffee and liqueur. There are a number of great flavors out there, which means an adult iced coffee never needs to taste the same again. For the best results, use crushed ice and a tot of liqueur per cup of coffee. A little bit stronger might not agree with everyone. Some of the liqueurs that complement coffee the best include the berry liqueurs, as well as mint and hazelnut.

The humble coffee bean has the ability to turn sleepy heads into functional human beings and also provides a necessary boost to a long way. There’s simply no reason to settle for instant coffee when there’s no coffee machine around ever again, even for a cold brew.

There are many things that make slow-smoked meals ideal: when done correctly, the meat is tender and falls right off the bone, melts in your mouth, and has a rich, smoky flavor, and all of this can be done with the most minimal work. What beats a delicious meal that you can leave and just come back to?

Well, some would argue that it’s a delicious meal that pretty much cooks itself, and that’s what the Qbox is shooting for. Picture this: a smoker that sets the optimal temperature for your meat, and then lets you know when it’s done, right on your phone. That’s what the Qbox promises.

It actually doesn’t look too different from your average smoker:


But it has a bit of “magic” mixed in – a microprocessor that allows it to connect via WiFi to a companion app on your smartphone.


Smartphone-controlled kitchen appliances aren’t all too new an idea, but the feature comes at the most appropriate time. According to the company behind Iceland Bingo, introducing mobile apps to their services saw 60% of new players registering on mobile, and more than 3x as many players on mobile as on desktop computers, showing that the consumer trends are certainly pointing towards mobile. Polls have even shown that 20% of households in New York don’t have landlines anymore, and while phones have been used for texting, calling and keeping up to date on social media, we may also soon see it used around the house. Many smartphone-controlled kitchen gadgets have been developed over the years, including everything from smart forks to frying pans.

The Qbox follows along the path of these kitchen gadgets, giving the smoker access to a variety of controls. Those who love to micromanage their smoking can adjust temperatures so that the meat cooks just the way they want. Those who are a bit too busy to actually pay attention to the food but want a delicious meal anyway can just put the meat into the cooker, pick a preset from the list, and allow the Qbox to do all the work. The Qbox can even be set up to keep your food warm after it’s cooked the way you like, ready for your consumption.

So, what do you think? Could the Qbox be the future of slow-smoking?

Grilled Cinnamon Ginger Orange Roughy

April 20, 2015
by Curt

Grilled Cinnamon Ginger Orange Roughy

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Char-Broil for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Living in Wisconsin, you have to be pretty tough to grill in the winter, (and I am), but now that spring is here, it’s finally feeling like grilling season again!

Char-Broil Grill-assembled and usedI was so excited to try out my new grill from Char-Broil. This is the brand new Char-Broil Kettleman Grill. It was quick and easy to assemble. If you’re like me, you hate assembling things like this, but this was truly a piece of cake!

The new Kettleman Grill can be purchased at Lowe’s or online at for only $129.00. What an awesome price for a grill of this quality with features that give you more control over temperature, flare-ups and clean-up. But hands down, the best feature is the porcelain coated no-fall-through grate design that allows small foods like shrimp or asparagus to never fall into the fire. Check this out to learn more about the Kettleman grill.

If you keep up with Smoked ‘n Grilled at all, you know I love my different spice combinations. I’m always trying to come up with a new flavor profile. I’m grilling up one of my all time favorite fish, orange roughy, and flavoring it with a new spice blend.

Char-Broil Grill-grateThanks to the awesome grate design, I can put the fish directly on the grate without worrying about it falling through into the fire.

So check out the recipe, and give it a try for yourself. After sampling the finished product, I know you’re gonna love it!

To see all the great features, check out this short video below!

Grilled Cinnamon Ginger Orange Roughy


  • 1 lb. Orange Roughy fillets
  • Spice Blend
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Get a medium hot grill going. (Note: leave a cool spot without coals in case things get too hot!)
  2. Mix all of the spice blend ingredients together in a spice shaker container.
  3. Generously sprinkle both sides of the fillets with the spice blend and place on the grate directly above the coals.
  4. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, then flip the fillets over and cook approximately another 5 minutes, or until done.
  5. NOTE: Considering fillets can vary in thickness, it's best to test for doneness with a digital meat thermometer at the center of the thickest part of the fillet. The temperature should read approximately 135° F.

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Smoked Brisket Burger

November 30, 2014
by Curt

Smoked Brisket BurgerA friend of mine in Texas told me he saw brisket burgers in the store. That got me thinking, so I did some searching on that. I see a lot of people are grinding brisket, and/or a combination of brisket and other meats and making patties. Well, I thought I’d do it a little differently. I would imagine someone else has done this too, but I just recently smoked a brisket, so I finely chopped 1 pound of the brisket after smoking it, and mixed it with 2 pounds of 85% ground beef.

Smoked Brisket Burger-choppedAs seen in this picture, I chopped the brisket by hand so I could get uniform sized very small pieces to mix with the burger. I wanted to be able to see, feel, and taste the bites of brisket in the burger. Because the pieces were larger, I had to use 2 pounds of burger to be able to mix all of the brisket in.

NOTE: Just as a suggestion, you could probably chop it more fine in a food processor, and be able to mix it with only 1 pound of burger to render a stronger smoked brisket flavor.

With the 1 to 2 ratio, the flavor of the smoked brisket came through very well! It was definitely the best burger I’ve eaten in quite a while!

NOTE: I only cooked up a couple of the burgers, so I wrapped the other patties individually and froze them for later!

Smoked Brisket Burger


  • 1 lb. smoked brisket (chopped) see picture
  • 2 lbs. 85% ground beef


  1. This is assuming that you've recently smoked a brisket, or purchased smoked brisket.
  2. Let's make brisket burgers:
  3. Take the 1 pound of the smoked brisket and finely chop it into very small pieces. You can use a food processor, but I did it by hand to achieve very small uniformed bite sized pieces.
  4. Mix this together with the 2 pounds of ground beef and form into patties.
  5. Get a medium hot grill going, and grill the burgers to you liking.
  6. NOTE: You can freeze some of the patties for cooking at another time!