I’m always looking for ways to change up the old grilled hamburger in the summer, like tonight for example when I made meatloaf burgers. They made a better version of a meatloaf sandwich, more tender than a regular hamburger and already full of lots of flavors, so that they didn’t need a lot of additions piled on. Last year I put giant meatballs on skewers, and that worked out pretty well, too. They were spicy, like these kebabs, but without quite so much heat. I made the kebabs a few days ago on one of the long holiday weekend days.
Tip for keeping any ground meat shape on a skewer: don’t make too wet or loose a mixture. You want the meat to hold its shape around the skewer so you can turn it on the grill.
We ate them two ways in flatbread wraps. I topped mine with roasted peppers, fresh tomatoes, and a sour cream-cucumber sauce. My husband chose only the peppers and my homemade burger sauce (mayo, Sriracha, garlic, cumin, maple syrup, lime juice, salt).
Spicy Grilled Ground Meat Kebabs
Plan ahead so the meat and spices have a chance to marinate up to a day.
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 bay leaf, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried cilantro
- 2 teaspoons garlic paste or grated garlic
- 1-2 teaspoons ginger paste or grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 4 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
- Mix the ground meat, spices, and aromatics until completely combined. You might even want to run the mixture through a meat grinder, especially if your ground meat has not been ground fine. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- Divide into four and shape each portion into a long sausage shape around a bamboo skewer.
- Grill over direct heat for a few minutes on each side. They cook quickly and you don’t want to overcook them. You could cook them over indirect heat with the grill lid closed for about 10 minutes, browning over direct heat or not. I like the taste of the charred kebabs better.
Two years ago, I posted a recipe probably given to me by my sister-in-law for hot dog sauce, supposedly similar to that at a Greenville, PA bar and grill. We’ve had the original many times, including recently, and thought this recipe was pretty close, at least in basic ingredients. But if you look at the post comments, you’ll see two recent comments from former Greenville residents that suggest one significant problem with my sauce, a problem I agree with—too much cloves. One generous informant, Mr. McDonald, even provided a recipe from one of his former Greenville neighbors “of the original Majestic restaurant.” Here’s the recipe I have been using, followed by the better one:
My recipe front
My recipe back
I decided to make the better recipe in a slow cooker, instead of hovering around a pot on the stove, and that turned out to be a good choice, although the beef didn’t break down like I thought it might, even after 8 hours, so I pulsed it in a blender for a few seconds for a much better texture. Both cooking methods are below.
After 8 hours
Pulsed in blender
Greenville Hot Dog Sauce
- 3 lbs ground beef
- 2 “handfuls chopped onion” (I used 2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon nutmeg (Mr. McDonald used 2 teaspoons; I used the tablespoon)
- 3 tablespoons paprika (I only had smoked paprika)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 14 oz bottle ketchup
- 6 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt (I added 2 more at the end)
- 1 cup flour (Mr. McDonald says “3/4 c. seems enough”; I used the full cup in the slow cooker)
- Brown beef, drain, and set aside, reserving about 3 tablespoons fat in pot.
- Sweat onions in the reserved fat until translucent.
- Return beef to pot with spices and ketchup.
- Beat together water, salt, and flour until all the flour is combined. Add to sauce mixture. “Simmer 2 hours. The sauce will thicken and the beef will break down. The beef is supposed to be in small particles, like Cincinnati chili. If you simmer the sauce uncovered then the water evaporates down,” if needed.
In slow cooker:
- Brown beef in large skillet, drain, and place in slow cooker. Reserve about 3 tablespoons fat in skillet.
- Sweat onions in the reserved fat until translucent, then transfer to slow cooker.
- Add spices and ketchup to slow cooker.
- Beat together water, salt, and flour until all the flour is combined. Add to slow cooker, stirring until all is combined.
- Cook at HIGH for 4 hours. Stir, then set at LOW for another 3-4 hours. You shouldn’t have any sticking, unless you have an older cooker with the heating element on the bottom, in which case you might want to use an all-day LOW setting.
- If the texture of the ground beef is still chunky at the end of the cooking (like mine was) you can use an immersion blender or a regular blender or food processor to make it more finely textured, which is best for a hot dog sauce. Just don’t turn it into a paste!
*About the amount of flour in the sauce. One cup of flour has 16 tablespoons, enough to thicken 8 cups of liquid to a medium sauce, like white sauce or cheese sauce. Combined here with 6 cups of water, you can see why the first cooking method on the stovetop suggests using less. In the slow cooker, however, there is little to no evaporation and the sauce is not too thick. That said, you have to decide how thick you want the final sauce. We like a kind of loose sauce with fine textured meat, and thought this one was just right
No, it’s not time for a summer picnic. In fact we’re in the midst of a pretty big chill, although I heard we will warm up today into the 30s or 40s. So the blanket of snow is not going anywhere, but I just had a taste for something different, and while hot dogs might seem like summer fare, baking bread on a cold winter day is a great way to keep warm. Maybe it seems like a lot of work to go to—making your own chili sauce and buns—for the lowly hot dog, but we do love a good hot dog around here.
The chili sauce I have told you about before, and today I tweaked it a bit by making it with venison, making a smaller amount, and changing a few ingredients, so I’ll give you those exact steps, but if you want the original, go here: https://kitchenportfolio.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/hot-dog-sauce/
Hot Dog Sauce with Venison
1 lb ground venison, browned
1 cup onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika (mine was smoked)
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons flour mixed with 1/2 cup water for thickening
- Brown the venison over medium heat with a little olive or vegetable oil, if it is very lean. I’d be surprised if it needs to be drained, but if you’re using beef, drain it. Add the onion and garlic, stirring until they begin to soften.
- Add the seasonings, ketchup and water, stirring to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
- Stir in the flour and water mixture and simmer for about another 15-20 minutes, until thickened.
I found a wonderful bun recipe at Simple Bites, picked partly because the images don’t look perfect—I appreciate when people put their stuff out there without it looking like it was professionally photographed and when the food itself looks real. I also picked it because it uses all whole wheat flour, instead of a mix of white and wheat. I made a few changes to the recipe, mostly because I had different ingredients on hand. My whole wheat flour was neither organic nor bread flour—it was just King Arthur® 100% Whole Wheat. I didn’t have any buttermilk, either, so I soured some whole milk with a little vinegar. And I didn’t have any whole cane sugar, so I just used white sugar. Other than that, I followed the recipe and it makes a very nice-handling dough that is easy to shape, without the extra flour suggested in the recipe.
See the original recipe here: Soft Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns
Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns
Preheat oven to 400°
Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons warm water
1 cup soured milk (add 1 tablespoon vinegar to one cup of milk) or buttermilk
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
As needed: 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for shaping (I really didn’t need any)
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature, plus 1 tablespoon, melted
- Stir yeast, sugar, and warm water in small bowl and set aside until it foams, about five minutes.
- Combine whole wheat flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the milk and egg, and the yeast mixture.
- On low speed, combine the ingredients and then let sit for 10 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the mixer as needed with a rubber spatula. Turn on mixer to low speed again and add butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it is all absorbed.
- Knead dough on low or a little higher for 5 minutes or until the dough looks smooth and elastic. As noted in the original, you shouldn’t add more flour—it doesn’t need it.
- Cover dough plastic wrap or a pastry cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough becomes very pliable and easy to shape.
Shape and Bake Rolls
- Remove dough to work surface, using white flour, if needed for handling. Lightly knead into a uniform shape to more easily determine how to cut the dough uniformly.
- Cut the dough with a dough scraper into 8-12 pieces. I made 8 rolls, but the original recipe makes 12.
- Shape the pieces into long rolls of about 4-5 inches and place in two rows in greased pan. The rolls will expand on rising to touch each other and create soft sides.
- Cover the pan with a pastry cloth and set in a warm place for about 45 minutes to rise.
- Brush with the tablespoon of melted butter and bake for 20-25 minutes. Mine seemed to brown much more than the ones pictured in the original recipe, so I removed them at 20 minutes.
Cool on rack and store until ready to eat. I highly recommend this recipe for a soft roll that is made with all whole wheat flour.
There are just two of us, so two pies seem unnecessary. We’ll just have to deal with it, I guess.
I make a variety of pie crusts, some with lard, some with solid shortening, some with butter, and some with combinations of all these. Today I made Martha Stewart’s “Pâte Brisée” (The Martha Stewart Cookbook, New York: Clarkson Potter, 19995. p. 4), an all butter crust. It does have a tendency to brown on the edges more than I would like, even when covered with foil strips, but the flavor is good. The dough rolls and shapes easily, and that saves a lot of frustration. Her “Country Pie Pastry” (p. 5) is a good alternative that uses both butter and solid shortening.
I pretty much always fall back on the pumpkin pie filling from my Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook (p. 351) that I have mentioned here before, with the exception that I use half and half instead of the milk called for.
My crimp pattern
Parts of the crust are a little dark
Nothing that whipped cream can’t fix
Preheat oven to 425°
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 sticks (1/2 lb) cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water—I needed about two more tablespoons of water to bring it together
- Put dry ingredients in food processor with dough blade.
- Add butter cubes and run on dough speed for 10-15 seconds until butter is cut in to a rough texture (this could all be done by hand).
- Add ice water slowly through the feed tube until the dough starts to form a ball. As I noted above, I had to use a little more water, but that always depends on things like humidity and fairy magic. Just don’t pulse it to death or the dough will be tough.
- Turn out onto your floured pastry rolling mat or board and knead into a ball, then cut in half for two crusts. Most recipes suggest that you chill the dough at this point, but I can’t be bothered with that in the winter.
- Roll out to about 1 1/2 inches larger than your pie dish top. Fit into dish, trim, leaving about a half inch hanging over the side. I like to roll under the edges and then crimp, so that there is a substantial crust edge—we like the crust. Use your favorite crimping method. I use my two thumbs, but I can’t take a picture of it without a third hand.
Pie Filling and Baking
1 29 oz can of pure pumpkin
3 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Beat all ingredients and pour into pie crusts. Bake 45 minutes. Start checking at about 40 minutes for doneness by inserting a sharp silver knife 1″ from the edge of the pie. When it comes out clean, the pie is done and should be removed to cooling racks. The centers will not appear to be done—they will jiggle like liquid—but they will continue to cook during cooling. Do not wait until the centers are done or your pie will weep water after being cut. That’s the biggest mistake people make with custard pies, overcooking.