Kick Ash ‘Crew & A’: Interview with Kick Ash Crew Facebook Group Member
We started the Kick Ash Crew with a simple mission: to unite grillers from all over the world in a shared passion. While we love providing our Kick Ash Crew members with tasty recipes, exclusive deals, and expert insight on grilling, our main goal remains bringing together a community of passionate grillers from all over the world.
Read more about How To Find Your Kick Ash Grilling Crew
To celebrate exactly two months of the Kick Ash Crew, we want to take the chance to highlight two grillers who have taken our mission as their own. José Bonilla and Debbie Jenkins Hutchinson, both avid grillers, have shared their cooks, tips, and tricks in the Facebook group since its inception.
We wanted to hear more from these two Grill Masters, so we interviewed them for the very first Kick Ash ‘Crew’ & A! Read all about their grilling journeys, favorite cooks, and more in this very first interview with the Kick Ash Crew.
On grilling journeys...
What is your grilling origin story?
José: My mother passed away over a decade ago and she was an excellent cook. I missed many of her dishes but I wanted to make barbecue version of her meals. I started about 10 years ago on a propane grill and gradually moved up to charcoal.
Debbie: I have enjoyed cooking all of my adult life. As soon as I got my first apartment in college, I started making “epic” meals for friends. I got my first grill a few years later and now grilling is something I do several times a week. I like to cook for friends, and that’s easy to do on my XL BGE. My neighbors call our house their “favorite restaurant.”
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on your charcoal grilling journey?
José: Making sure there is plenty of air flow.
Debbie: Experiment. I make all of my own rubs and adding a new ingredient, like hatch chili sea salt, can make a fun difference. I also experiment with woods - our coffee roaster gave me some coffee wood for smoking - it’s amazing for beef and pork.
What’s your most unforgettable grilling memory?
José: Cooking 140 pounds of chicken for a church event. I marinated chicken in a citrus mojo marinade. The church did a free barbecue that was open for everyone and that made me proud to cook for them when I was asked. This was definitely a lot of work but so worth it.
Debbie: We had a large party to christen a new outdoor “living room” and had about 100 friends over. We grilled ribs, brisket, poppers, wings, and so much more.
On charcoal grilling cooks...
What is your favorite thing to grill?
José: That’s a tough one because there are many things that I enjoy grilling; but if I have to pick one, I would say St. Louis style ribs. My ribs are a 6 hour affair but when they are done the taste and the compliments are worth all the trouble.
Read more about How to Grill Ribs on Charcoal
Debbie: I have both a gas grill (with a searing burner and Grill Grates) and a XL Big Green Egg (I had 2 eggs but recently gave my L to my sister). On the gas grill, I regularly make a steelhead trout with smoking rub and brine. It tastes great and it cooks in about 10 minutes.
On the Big Green Egg, my favorite is meats: baby back pork ribs, reverse sear thick ribeyes, brisket, beef plate ribs, spatchcocked chicken, maple bourbon bacon, and of course, jalapeño poppers. My neighbors enjoy them too.
Do you have a favorite recipe to make on your charcoal grill?
José: I love grilling and eating burgers. I make an 8 ounce patty that I mix with a splash of Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. I season the outside of it with a brisket rub. I fire up my Big Green Egg to 500º F and cook the burgers to a medium… perfection!
Debbie: Lots of them!
For the pork ribs, I started out with one from Dr. BBQ and modified it over the years. I brine the ribs overnight in a mixture of apple juice or cider, water, and Diamond Kosher sea salt. I rinse them, then air dry them uncovered on a rack in the fridge for a few hours. When I light the BGE (a few chunks of applewood are buried in the coals), I smear the ribs with mustard, followed by Big Time BBQ rub (Dr. BBQ’s recipe made with powdered smoked ancho chili and a mixture of sea salt and smoked applewood salt). I smoke them at about 250º F for 2 hours with meat up, followed by 1 hour with the meat down. The meat will be pulling back from the end of the bones or I smoke them a little longer. The ribs are then taken off and brushed with honey. I double wrap them in aluminum foil and pour some apple juice in the bottom of the packets. They then go back on the grill for about 1 ½ hours. I rest them for at least an hour in an ice chest.
If I am smoking something else next (like poppers or peaches and corn for a salad) sometimes the wrapped ribs finish in a 250º F oven. Sometimes I also just brush the ribs with honey and stack the ribs in a foil pan with apple juice in the bottom - it’s not quite as good but it is easier.
On Favored Grill Tools...
What’s your favorite grilling tool that’s not a Kick Ash Basket product?
José: Thermopro thermometer.
What’s your favorite grilling tool that is a Kick Ash Basket product?
José: Kick Ash Basket and Can followed by the Lifter.
Debbie: The Kick Ash Basket - it is so easy to get ready for the next smoke.
On Grilling Techniques…
What’s one technique/recipe you haven’t tried with grilling but really want to?
José: Reverse sear.
Debbie: Wish I knew! I think I have grilled just about everything (everything listed, fruit, pizza, shellfish, fish, stuffed burgers, meatloaf, and more).
When is your favorite time of the year to grill?
José: I live in Florida so I grill year round but the fall and winter are my favorite. Temperatures are cooler that time of the year.
Debbie: I grill all year round! Here in north Texas it can be 30º F or 105º F. The weather can swing 30º F in a matter of hours. My BGE is in a nest so I can wheel it under our big back patio if it is raining or bitter cold.
During cooler weather, I also use the BGE as the container to cold smoke salmon and cheese with my Amazin’ smoke maze and tube.
On Sharing Grilling With Others...
Who do you share your love of grilling with?
José: I am a part of a barbecue group that consists of about 64 friends that go to the same church so we named the group Holy Smokers.
Debbie: Friends and family. I now have 2 family members with BGEs, and 2 with other smokers. And several friends have bought smokers. I just ask them to “not serve me my own food”. LOL
What do you enjoy most about having an online grilling community in the Kick Ash Crew?
José: Product information, tips and tricks for grilling, and sharing recipes.
Debbie: I like to read about other people’s food journey.
When did you discover Kick Ash Basket?
José: I discovered Kick Ash about a year and a half ago and I always recommend their products.
Debbie: I’ve known about them for years, but I just finally bought a Kick Ash Basket. I have SO many accessories that I just waited. I should have bought the basket and can years ago.
A Kick Ash Grilling Community
Whether you share your love of grilling with a large group, a small circle of friends, or keep it to just you and your grill, having an online community to lean on can help take your passion to the next level.
Thanks to José and Debbie for sharing their grilling journeys with us and being valued members of the Kick Ash Crew. If you’re not a member yet, head to The Kick Ash Crew on Facebook to keep up with their latest cooks, tips, and awesome photos! If you think of a technique Debbie possibly hasn’t tried yet, or have tips for José’s first reverse sear, feel free to post them in the group.
To be featured in the next Kick Ash ‘Crew’ & A, hit the group and start sharing your grilling expertise!