Resplendent’s Northwest Arkansas office began working with Little Rock-based PK Grills only a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and we were quickly were schooled on how to grill on PK’s line of top-notch charcoal grills. So, let us tell you why PK Grills are the superior grill. And it’s not just because we manage their social media, it’s because we have first-hand experience cooking and photographing PK’s and they truly are best in class.
PK stands for Portable Kitchen. The grills were originally manufactured in Tyler, Texas in the 1950’s before moving to Little Rock and subsequently closing up shop in the 1970’s. During this, let’s call it “in-between time,” they were highly sought after and were eventually revived by our clients, who were loyal PK collectors themselves, in 1998. Serious grillers know PK’s to being a quality designed product – made of thick, cast aluminum these beasts will never, ever rust and boast a 20-year guarantee, which is unheard of in the grill industry. Because the dome-shaped body of the grill is so thick, it retains heat and can hold temperatures in any weather condition. The four-point precision air-flow system allows you to dial in how much air gets in and out of the grill, enabling you to better control the temperature of the grill and its grilling zones. And for serious charcoal grillers, this is a key performance factor. The PK portfolio boasts the Original, the just launched All-New Original (the PK300), the PKGO and the PK360, with more models due to launch later this year. The grills have fans around the world, including several famous stateside culinarians like Aaron Franklin, Alton Brown and Jess Pryles.
Part of our work with PK includes ideating and executing themed photoshoots, which includes recipe development via our in-house chef, Wes Mickel (one of our partners’ husbands and long-time PK fan). We’re featuring a few of our favorite recipes we’ve recently done on the PK for your reading pleasure. Hit us up with questions – we’ve linked the grills too for easy access.
Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs
This recipe works for quarters, drumsticks, bone-in thighs, hypothetically duck, turkey, turducken, or any poultry that you want to have some honey mustard love. If you want to add dijon to fancy up the honey mustard, go for it. We like to throw in some Colemans to give it a little of that mustard burn… Brush the drumsticks about two times during the indirect stage to build up some sticky sauce, then finish by brushing a final time before finishing over direct heat. You want them to be pretty sticky and golden with little bits of char. We did this recipe on a PKTX Grill and Smoker (in silver, should you be asking), dubbed the “Tailgate King,” but let’s call her the Queen.
4 FL OZ yellow mustard
2 FL OZ Colemans, prepared mustard (not the powder)
3 FL OZ honey
1 FL OZ brown sugar
2 FL OZ mayo
1 FL OZ onion powder
.5 FL OZ apple cider vinegar
Tabasco or hot sauce of choice
Kosher Salt to taste
3# Bone in Drumsticks (or other dark meat)
-Mix all ingredients (sans chicken) in a bowl until homogenous. Season with tabasco and salt to taste. Divide into 2 separate containers. One to marinate and brush on during cooking, and one for serving.
For the chicken, toss the chicken in the portioned “marinade” honey mustard and place in an airtight container. Marinate for 8-12 hours. Pull out of the fridge 1-2 hours prior to smoking.
Set up your grill for indirect flame and have some soaked wood pieces at the ready if you’re wanting a little extra smoke.You’re shooting for about 250 +/- 10 degrees F smoker temp. If you’re over, it will go faster, and if you’re under it’s going to take longer. No worries either way, but shoot for 250 degrees. Add your hydrated wood pieces directly over prepped coals, and place your poultry (shake off excess marinade before placing on the grates) on the opposite side of the coals (save that extra marinade). Close the lid and set your airflow up for indirect setting (top vent closed over the coals and top vent open slightly over the chicken, and bottom vent open wide under the coals and bottom vent closed under the chickies). Every 20-30 minutes, rotate the drumsticks and give them a little brush of reserved marinade. Cook over indirect heat to an internal temp of 145-155, then brush with reserved marinade (if you’re out, use some of the honey mustard you bogarded earlier for serving) and finish over direct heat. The goal here is to really get some caramelization on all that honey mustard.
Pecan Smoked Tri-Tip Asada
Anytime you do an Asada preparation, it benefits from a bit of time on some salt. This pulls out water and allows to get some of that marinade in. Double dark mushroom soy really makes a difference as opposed to lighter Chinese/Thai soy sauces or shoyu’s. If you’re planning on tacos for a group, this is a great recipe as you can smoke ahead of time, then finish over direct heat to order. After you’ve hit about 115-130 degrees, just pull and let rest for about 15 minutes before carving.
*Flash the carved pieces over direct heat right before serving, then toss in all the carving juices. Pecan is a favorite, but mesquite or any hardwood would be just fine.
One 3-4.5# Tri-tip
3 pasilla chiles, stems removed
2 guajillos, stems removed
4 FL OZ double dark mushroom soy
Zest and juice of 1 navel orange
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 green onions, roots removed and rough chopped
2 Tbsp grown sugar
1/2 Tbsp Kosher salt
Combine all ingredients (obviously, not the tri-tip) in a blender and process until you have a smooth paste. Tip: some would say toast your chilies then hydrate in hot liquid. Then use a high powered blender, and by the time you’re done smoking you will not be able to notice toasted chiles. Once pureed, apply the marinade to tri tip, coating evenly. Place in an airtight container in the fridge for between 12-24 hours to marinate. Before smoking, remove from the fridge about 1-2 hours prior to come up to ambient temp.
Set up your grill for indirect flame and have some soaked pecan wood pieces at the ready. You’re shooting for about 210 +/- 10 degrees F. Add your pecan pieces directly over prepped coals, and place your tri-tip on the opposite side of the coals. Close the lid and set your airflow up for indirect setting (top closed over the flame and open slightly over the tri tip, and bottom open wide under the coals and closed under the tri tip). Maintain heat source temp. Use a temp probe to test out the tri tip. Should be ready in about 1.5-3 hours depending on ambient temperature and PK temperature.