Monday, July 25, 2011

Jack Daniels Chipotle Flank Steak, Bacon and Grilled Peach Infused Cocktail, and Key Lime Pie with Whiskey Whipped Cream......

Sunday dinner is the Last Castle. It is the final display of freedom before work on Monday sinks its teeth into you, and you go back to the grind. It's a metaphor, really, for capitalism and the trade deficit...Just kidding. I don't even know what a metaphor is. I always thought similes were just frowns turned upside down. Today we're going to drop a lot of my usual gags for actual talk about food, because this was one of my most complete meals to date, and there's a lot of food to talk about here. And drinks. With liquor. And bacon....Mmmmmmmm. Bacon!

When I read that there was a challenge on GrillGrrrl's blog ( involving recipes with Jack Daniel's Whiskey, I was intrigued. I love me some contests, and I love me some Tennessee Whiskey, so I thought this was a win-win-win. I decided, in true Jacked Up Grill style, that I would go so over the top with Jack flavors, that I would win with sheer overwhelming force. So, since my wife is seven months pregnant, and fetal alcohol syndrome is never a good  punchline, I invited my buddy over (his wife and kids are out of town, and he is a federal government employee, so going to work drunk on monday is actually expected) for the Ultimate Jack Daniels Sunday Dinner. Here is the Menu....
Cocktail:     Bacon and Grilled Peach-Infused Jack Daniel's Old Fashioned
Entree:        Honey Chipotle Lime Whiskey Flank Steak
Sides:          Jack Daniel's Summer Slaw with Green Apples, Red Peppers and Snow Peas
                   Smoked Gouda Potato Gratin
Dessert:       Key Lime Pie with Honey Whiskey Whipped Cream

It all started Saturday afternoon.......(Doodley Doo! Doodley Doo! Doodley Doo!) (Flashback Screen Effect!)
I first heard of bacon flavored cocktails on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman, I belive. There was a fat washing technique that infused the smoky bacon flavor into the alcohol without retaining any of the actual fat. Since I am an expert in fat washing, I thought it would be a piece of cake. After extensive googling, the one I wanted to try was from a hipster bar in NYC called PDT (probably stands for something that doens't make any sense, but is artistic. Like Pretty Donkey Truffels. Or Pandora Diplomat Teepee).
I picked up the smokiest bacon I could find (a dry rubbed Black Forest variety) and rendered out a couple of ounces of fat, which I strained. The bacon fat actually looked just like Jack Daniels, which is beautiful, yet disturbing.

I wanted to try a couple different modifications, so I poured out two measuring cups with four ounces of Jack each. I added one ounce of the bacon fat to each cup and let it sit for 6 hours. To mix it up, I grilled up some some peach slices and added them to one of the cups. After the infusion, I put both cups in the freezer overnight.

The morning, the measuring cups had something truly horrible floating on top of them, but after straining, they just looked like whiskey again. (Tip: If you infuse with a fruit, take the fruit out before putting the whiskey in the freezer. My peaches froze up the whole thing, and I had to wait on them to thaw, then get them out and start the freezing over again to get the bacon fat out. Stupid Peaches).
When drinking time came around, I mixed the Jack with a squirt of honey (probably 1/2 tsp), the juice of 1/2 of a Meyer lemon, a couple shakes of Angostura bitters and some ice in a cocktail shaker. I shook it violently and then strained it into a chilled glass and garnished with a grilled slice of Meyer Lemon and a piece of bacon.
I tried it with the peach/bacon and just the bacon flavored Jack, and the peach one was the clear winner. I thought the bacon flavor would be a punch in the face, but it was actually only the faintest smoky salty hint. If anything, I wish I could have had a little more savory in there. The peach and the sweet,tart lemon were perfect complements to the whiskey. Don't be scared! This is a great drink!

For the flank steak, I normally make this marinade/steak sauce with tequila, but I like to keep my liver guessing, so Tennessee Whiskey was a natural fit. I scored both sides of the steak in a diamond pattern and let it marinade in honey, lime juice, garlic, chipotle peppers and Jack for about 6 hours. I saved some of the marinade in a pot and reduced it on the grill to make a thick steak sauce for the table. The steak hit the grill for about 6 minutes per side, and then I let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing it on the bias.

We needed something unhealty to go with dinner, so I made my famous smoked gouda potato au gratin with bacon, and put a scoop of that on the plate under the flank steak slices.

To get just a little more Jack Daniels in there, I made a slaw with julienned red peppers, green apples, and snow peas with some lime juice, whiskey and dijon mustard.
The finished plate was not bad looking.

The best thing I made all day was the Key Lime Pie. I was inspired by a local blog called Pie It Forward ( The author posted a simple recipe for this pie on friday, and I found myself going back to look at it over and over....I was stalking a pie. I'm not even ashamed. Now, I have never made a pie of any kind in my life, but i was determined to do this one right. I had to search the world over this weekend to find real Key Limes, but I did at the last moment, and after following the recipe, my pie looked perfect. I used Paula Dean's recipe for pie crust (, but I replaced the ice water with ice cold Jack. Mmmmm.
I whipped up my own whip cream and added Jack and honey to finish the pie. It was phenomenal. The perfect summer treat. And I made pie making manly. Grrrrrrrrr

At the end of the meal, I wasn't drunk, which means I missed something, considering this was a whiskey challenge, but I made a wicked awesome, complete, coherent dinner. The Jack Daniels flavors were there, though they were subtle, and I impressed myself a little.

Now I get to go fill peoples' prescriptions tomorrow with a clear head and a full belly......

Grilled Peach-Bacon Old Fashioned
Mix 1 ounce bacon fat with 4 oz. Jack Daniels
Add 4-6 grilled peach slices
Stir thoroughly, then let sit at room temperature for 6 hours
Remove peach slices and strain into freezer safe bowl
Let freeze overnight, then strain again to remove solidified fat

In a cocktail shaker, add whiskey, ice, juice of 1/2 Meyer Lemon, a few dashes of bitters, and 2 tsp honey. Shake and strain into chilled glasses (2 servings). Garnish with grilled lemon and bacon strip.

Jack Daniel's Honey Chipotle Marinade/ Steak Sauce:
1/2 cup honey
4 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
juice of 2 limes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup Jack Daniel's Whiskey

Mix and seal with meat in a ziploc bag for at least 6 hours.
For steak sauce, heat in a saucepan until thickened to a honey-like consistency

Smoked Gouda Potatoes Gratin
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes
1/2 pound smoked gouda cheese, shredded
4 strips bacon, crisped and chopped
1/2 vidalia onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375.
After browning bacon, reserve some bacon fat to cook onions and garlic until translucent. Mix with 1/4 cup cream and bacon pieces and season with salt and pepper
Peel potatoes and slice into 1/8 inch discs. In a bowl, pour 1 cup cream over potatoes and toss thoroughly, then season with salt and pepper.
Add a layer of potatoes in a greased casserole dish, then add a layer of bacon/onion mixture, then a layer of cheese. Repeat until out of potatoes, then pour remaining cream over the top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake for 1 hour covered with aluminum foil, then remove foil for 30 more minutes to get a brown top.

Jack Daniel's Apple, Red Pepper Snow Pea Slaw
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 granny smith apple, julienned
20 snow peas
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Jack Daniel's
Blanch peas, then place in ice bath. Finely julienne red pepper and apple, then mix with vinaigrette.
For vinaigrette, stir all ingredients together, and then whisk very quickly while adding olive oil. Mix peas, apples, peppers and vinaigrette until everything is coated.

Key Lime Pie With Jack Daniel's Flavored Whipped Cream
Substitute Jack for Ice Water for a sublte caramel flavor in the crust.
For Key Lime Pie Recipe, see
1 cup Whipping Cream
2 tbsps confectioner's sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Jack Daniel's
In a mixer, combine all ingredients and gradually increase mixer speed until cream is puffed up and firm enough to hold its shape. Spoon out as desired onto pie.

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