The weather was fantastic and the Bay Breeze Patio event at Seascape had a great turn out last weekend, minus one- me home from Thursday’s foot surgery. But, during the event I had several friends on site texting me what was happening in real-time, sending photos of  fantastic dishes presented and telling me how great everything was smelling at Eggs on the Beach EggFest BBQ Competition!

The successful event was made possible with volunteers, sponsors, donors and cook teams, with the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast as the benefitting charity, a “fun raising” time for a great cause.

The Fisher House of the Emerald Coast provides a home away from home for military families during medical treatment. Within steps of the Eglin Air Force Base Hospital and Veteran’s Clinic, the Fisher House’s 12 guest suites and a caring staff provide lodging, basic needs and support to active and retired military when they need it most. In 2013, the Fisher House served 621 guests, providing 2004 bed nights, and has already hosted 457 guests in 2014.


EggFest welcomed 25 cook teams competing for the people’s choice award and a Big Green Egg, and five non-profit teams competing for $500 toward their cause.

Teams included:
Restaurant teams: Fat Clemenza’s, Mama Clemenza’s, Fudpucker’s, Love Meat Tender BBQ, Habanero Grill and Local Catch

Backyard teams: Two Girls and a Big Green Egg, Coastal Dreamin’, Brothers’ BBQ, Fyffe I, Fyffe II, The Egg & I, Up in Smoke, Come & Taste It, Los Fulanos de Tal, and Tatum’s Tots
Business teams: InDyne, Salt Rox, Enco Electronics, Tops’l Warehouses

Charity Teams: Boys & Girls Club, Food for Thought, Rotary Club of Destin, The Fisher House of the Emerald Coast and Emerald Coast Autism Center


Runner up: Two Girls & A Big Green Egg

Second Place: Coastal Dreamin’

First Place: InDyne

Non-profit winner: Emerald Coast Autism Center

Generous raffle donations were from: Big Green Egg, YOLO Bicycle, Newman-Dailey Resort Properties (stay at Beachside Inn), Seascape Resort, Cuvee Bistro, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Vintij’ Wine Boutique, Grill Grates, Whale’s Tail at Seascape, Emerald Bay Golf Course, Fudpucker’s and Abita Beer.

Chris Alvarado provided fabulous live music and Aimee Shaffer served as MC.

Stay tuned for details on EggFest2015


Two Girls & A Big Green Egg:
Pork Belly & Watermelon Skewers

Note: This recipe takes 3 days to prepare and grill but it is not hard and does not take much time each day and is worth it – this recipe makes 60 skewers.

For Brine:
• 4 t coriander seeds toasted
• 2 t fennel seeds toasted
• 1 gallon water
• 1 1/3 cups kosher salt
• 2/3 cups granulated sugar
• 3 (4-5 in) fresh chilies, thinly sliced
• 1 T black peppercorns
• 2 shallots sliced
• 3 garlic cloves smashed
• ¾ c daun salam ( Indonesian bay leaves; ¾ ounce)

For Pork Belly:
• 3 pounds pork belly, without skin
• 2 T vegetable oil
• 1 med onion cut into 6 wedges
• 2 shallots halved lengthwise
• 1 head garlic unpeeled and halved crosswise
• 2 cups chicken stock

For Chile Sauce:
• ½ cup plus 2 T Asian fish sauce
• 1 cup grated palm sugar (8 ounces)
• ½ cup plus 2 T fresh lime juice
• 5 T rice vinegar (not seasoned)
• 6 T chopped cilantro stems
• 7 (4-5 in) fresh red chilies, chopped, including seeds
• 12 garlic cloves chopped (about 6 T)

For Watermelon Balls: (Make this the day you are serving)
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 ½ cups water
• ¾ cup white wine vinegar
• 1 T salt
• Juniper berries
• Dash of black pepper
• Orange jest

Boil 2 minutes and cool for 10 minutes add some finely chopped basil then marinate watermelon balls for 10-15 min before adding to skewer after taking off grill
Brine Pork Belly:
1. Bring brine ingredients to a boil in a 6 quart pot, then simmer, uncovered 20 minutes. Cool brine to room temp, then chill to cold (about 3 hours and up to 3 days)
2. Cover pork belly with brine in a large heavy roasting pan, then chill for 24 hours
3. Remove pork belly from brine, discarding the brine, and rinse under cold water. Pat dry. Clean roasting pan.

Braise Pork Belly:
1. Preheat oven to 225 F with rack in middle
2. Straddle roasting pan across 2 burners and heat oil over med-high heat until it shimmers, cook onions, garlic, and shallots, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 min. Add stock and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits. Add pork belly and remove from heat.
3. Cover roasting pan tightly with foil and braise in oven until pork belly is very tender- 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours
4. Remove pork belly (reserve braising liquid for another use) and cook to room temp
5. Wrap tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and chill, pressed between 2 baking sheets with a weight (such as 4 28 ounce cans) on top for 12-24 hours

Make Chile Sauce:
Puree all ingredients with 1 ½ t salt in a blender

Skewer and Grill Pork Belly:
1. Bring pork belly to room temp, about 30 minutes.
2. Cut lengthwise into 1 inch strips and then cut each strip into 1 inch pieces & skewer
3. Baste with chili sauce
4. Oil grill rack
5. Grill, turning occasionally & basting again, until brown on all sides (3-4 min)
6. Remove from grill and brush with chili sauce

1. After removing from grill add a marinated watermelon ball & serve immediately

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