Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Costco find that brings the taste of summer grilling

I bought this a while back at Costco and absolutely love the stuff.  It is their house label "Sweet Mesquite Seasoning".  It does just what it says it does.  It brings a marvelous sweet mesquite flavor to whatever you use it on.  It is a blend of salt, pepper, dried chiles, onion, garlic and a few other spices that you simply sprinkle on as a dry rub and let it marinate a few minutes before you grill pan it, bake it or whatever.

This stuff is seriously good and completely justifies one cost of Costco membership.

I've used this often on Salmon steaks as it brings out a pretty terrific flavor to them.  I either use the grill pan with them or micro-roast depending on how much time I have to fuss with dinner on a given day.  Either way you wind up with a nicely "grilled tasting" mesquite flavor without the hassle of breaking out the barbecue, especially nice to have around in winter when raining makes real grilling not an option.  Unless of course you are some sort of masochist that loves standing in a cold rain with an umbrella hoping for the authentic taste.

Another great use is with thick cut pork chops that you start on the grill pan and finish up in the oven to make sure the center is cooked to a lovely medium.  (I'm old school pork here and just can't quite stomach it at rare or even med-rare).  You start with thick cut pork chops, I prefer boneless.  Sprinkle on the "Sweet Mesquite Seasoning" on both sides and let set for 30 minutes. To do it on the grill pan all you have to do is cook one side on med-high for 4-5 minutes, turn over then toss in a 350F oven for 20 minutes to finish them off.  You get perfectly cooked and still moist pork chops with no worry about it being too rare.

I also have a great cocktail party appetizer I make with this seasoning that I call a Salmon Mousse.  Take 1 salmon steak cooked with the "Sweet Mesquite Seasoning" and using a fork flake it until it is all nice and fluffy.  Take 2 8oz packages of room temp Cream Cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream.  Whip until fluffy, fold in the flaked salmon and 2 teaspoons of the "Sweet Mesquite Seasoning".  Serve with crackers or french bread rounds.

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