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March 2022

Food Review: Oscar Mayer Smokies - Bachelor on the Cheap

Oscar Mayer SmokiesBy Mike Thayer

Without question, burgers and hot dogs (that’s spelled, D.A.W.G.S) are the most popular meats to be placed on a grill in the summer time.  They're also an easy peasy, go-to meal for many families prepared on the stove top any time of year as well.   

Oscar Mayer Smokies are a great choice if you're looking for a quick and easy hot dog meal but can't take advantage of a grilled preparation.  Desiring a little smoky flavor in that dawg but cooking on the stovetop tonight?  No problem, Smokies are your friend.

Here's the description from the Oscar Mayer website:  Oscar Mayer Smokies are hardwood smoked and made with all the great taste and quality you crave. Made with no added nitrates or nitrites, no artificial preservatives, and no by-products so you can enjoy the great taste and quality you expect, with no guilt.

This is no ordinary hot dog.  Made with beef and pork, you get nice smoky notes in each bite along with a good snap, the mark of a quality dawg.  When cooking, these things plump up nicely, those smoky note juices flowing.  And hey, BONUS!  It's an eight count package of dawgs, matching the bun count!

Oscar Mayer Smokie on a street tortilla
Simple, but quite tasty!

I picked up a couple packages of Smokies the other day, on sale at my neighborhood grocery store, 2 packages for $5.  That's cheap eats and frankly (pun intended), I'll take these over the classic Oscar Mayer all beef hot dog 9 times out of 10, on sale or not.

The price is right, the smokiness is tasty and these dawgs are SO easy to prepare.  Heck, microwave for 60 seconds, put on a street taco sized tortilla (perfect size), top with any kind of mustard be it yellow, brown or Dijon to embrace that smokiness and voila, quick eats, good eats!  I'm giving Oscar Mayer Smokies 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars, these are a routine buy for me!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Burgers, Sausages and Hot Dogs

Wine Review: Bellavita Sweet Red - Bachelor on the Cheap

Bellavita Sweet Red Wine
Excellent fruity notes

By Mike Thayer

It's been awhile since I've had a glass of wine, let alone done a wine review.

I've had this bottle sitting around since a house warming party back in October, so I figured it was time to uncork it before I have to start dusting the bottle...

This is a sweet red that has some really nice fruity notes which you catch right away when you uncork.  Lightly sweet with a bit of effervescence (that means bubbles for those of you who live in Haysville), the stars of the show are those fruity notes that are rich in character from start to finish.

Scratch Made Macadamia Nut Cookies
The nuts and chocolate pairs well with the sweet red

Pairs well with with all Italian dishes and it's an excellent dessert wine as well.  I enjoyed a glass with scratch made Macadamia Nut Cookies!

Costing me about $12, this is a sweet red that's reasonably priced and easy on the palate.  I'm giving it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars and it's worthy of a repeat buy.

4 stars


Whiskey Review: Georgia Moon Peach - Bachelor on the Cheap

20220114_123359By Mike Thayer

So I recently ventured away from enjoying the more traditional flavored whiskeys such as Jim Beam Orange (Great for making an Old Fashioned) or Ole Smoky Peanut Butter which in my humble opinion is better than Skrewball!

Lately I've been into trying Moonshine, a.k.a., "White Whiskey."

White Whiskey is "new" whiskey, as in a raw, unfinished product, "unaged." White Whiskey skips the aged in oak barrels step so what you get is naked grain alcohol - Moonshine!

Looking for a different flavored Moonshine to try, I picked up a Mason Jar of Georgia Moon Peach at my neighborhood liquor store, Everton Liquor at the corner of Harry and Rock.

Here's the description:  Kentucky- Moonshine Georgia Moon Peach is another reason why the state of Georgia has its nickname. World famous Georgia peaches give the classic corn whiskey blend a new, fresh picked flavor in every sip. The smell of sweet corn accompanied by peaches in a mouth watering invitation.

Some folks might describe Moonshine as harsh and that would be a reasonable description if we were talking home made, unregulated or otherwise made without a license Moonshine.  That backyard stuff is commonly 'bottled' at 150 proof.  Yes, harsh.  But Georgia Moon Peach is a commercially made White Whiskey and at 70 proof, makes for a smooth chilled shot or better yet enjoyed on the rocks.  You get the pleasant peach notes in the nose, it delivers Georgia Peach in the sip, no harshness at all and you get the warm white whiskey finish going down.  Peach is a great pairing with Moonshine.

Costing me $13.99 for a reusable Mason Jar, I'm giving Georgia Moon Peach Moonshine 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's reasonably priced and a super change-of-pace flavored whiskey, it's a definite repeat buy.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Drink Review: Ole Smoky Sour Apple Moonshine


Product Review: Kingsford Cumin Chili Flavored Charcoal

By Mike Thayer

Kingsford Flavored Charcoal Cumin Chili
Does this stuff really add flavor?

Make no mistake, I am a charcoal enthusiast.  In my humble opinion, for a grilled meal, you can't beat charcoal and a Weber Kettle. 

I do like to throw some added flavor through wood in combination with the charcoal, chunks of pecan wood to do up some brats, chunks of a fruit wood for pork or chunks of oak for beef.  It all depends on what you're grilling or smoking.  The key is creating layers of flavor, so when my girlfriend texted me a pic of Kingsford's lineup of flavored charcoal with a caption of "Flavored Smoke?"  I was intrigued.

I have to admit, I've never used the stuff before and my initial reaction to flavored smoke was "Isn't that what spices are for?  Talk about lazy grilling...."

But I have to try it!

The Kingsford lineup comes in three "Flavors," a combination of traditional Kingsford charcoal and the flavored briquettes.  Here are the descriptions pulled from the Kingsford website:

Garlic Onion Paprika:  "Savory, caramelized flavor featuring an earthy base of garlic paired with the mildly sweet notes of onion and warmth of paprika."  The flavored briquettes are hickory based.

Basil Sage Thyme:  "Smooth, balanced flavor that channels a peppery blend of basil harmonized with mellow hits of herbaceous sage and earthy thyme."  These flavored briquettes have an oak infused base.

Kingsford Cumin Chili Charcoal
In the bag, traditional Kingsford briquettes and 'Signature Flavor' briquettes

Cumin Chili:  "Bold, smoky flavor built on a warm and hearty foundation of cumin with a spicy pick-me-up pop of chili heat."  These briquettes have a mesquite wood base.

So, inspired by my girlfriend I went to my local grocery store and picked up a bag of the Cumin Chili flavored charcoal and some chicken thighs to test it out with.

As I previously stated, I questioned whether 'spices' could be infused through smoke into whatever I might be grilling and after all, isn't that what marinades and dry rubs are for?

But, being open minded, boy is this adding another layer of flavor!

I marinaded a little less than two pounds of boneless/skinless chicken thighs as follows:


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked salt
  • juice from half a lime

After bagging and letting the chicken get all happy in the fridge for three hours, it was time to fire up the grill.

I lost all skepticism I had for 'flavored smoke' when I dumped the chimney.  You can smell all those spice notes, it's like I was already grilling something and I hadn't even put any food on the grill yet!  The aroma of the cumin and chili was enticing!

Kingsford Cumin Chili Flavored Charcoal
Winner, winner, Kingsford Flavored Charcoal Chicken Dinner! This stuff delivers another layer of flavor!

So with the marinaded chicken in mind, as a control measure to see if this smoke can infuse spice flavor in food, I included baked potatoes in this meal.  Potatoes are great for taking on flavor.  On the grill they went, simply prepped with olive oil, salt and pepper.  They went on the grate over indirect heat, no foil.  Rotating those taters every 15 minutes (for a total cook time of one hour), I put the chicken on over the coals in a lid off preparation to avoid any flare ups.  Once I got the grill marks I wanted, I transferred the chicken over to indirect heat to finish cooking, lid on.

Let me tell you, I am a FAN of this spice infused charcoal!  The marinaded chicken was outstanding, but the potatoes were actually the star of the show!  They really picked up the spice notes.  I served them up "loaded" with butter, cheese, sour cream, bacon and green onion.  But that was all complimented by the cumin, chili and mesquite notes in that flavored charcoal.  PHENOMENAL!

5 starsCosting me $10.99 for an 8 pound bag, I'm giving Kingsford Cumin Chili Flavored Charcoal 5 out of 5 stars.  It's reasonably priced and most definitely delivers another layer of flavor on whatever you're grilling!

Marinade and/or dry rub + Kingsford Flavored Charcoal = Another Dose of YUM!

This charcoal is certainly a repeat buy and I can't wait to try the other flavors!

I take great pleasure in grilling good eats!

~ Mike Thayer