Blue Moon Disk Fajitas
The cutting disk turned cooking disk is perfect for an entire meal when grilling at home or camp
By Lacey Thacker Photography: Novo Studio
Chuck Peyton never dreamed a mission trip to Mexico would inspire him to start a business. In 2005, after completing a mission trip spent constructing medical facilities, Chuck and the rest of his group were invited to a celebratory cook out. He says he’d been told about the cooking dish used by the locals; “I didn’t think anything of it until I saw it, but then I just thought it was the coolest thing ever.” Chuck was, he says, almost more interested in how they were cooking the food than he was in what particular food they were cooking. The residents indulged his curiosity, showing him how the cooking tool was made.
After Chuck arrived home to Little Rock, the memory continued to percolate, but it took several years before the idea came to fruition. He searched for something similar but was unsuccessful, though he now knows several cultures have a similar cooking tool. “It just kind of bothered me for a few years, until I went into a hardware store in Harrison and saw a new disk for sale. I thought, ‘All right, it’s on,’” he explains with a laugh. He collected a few used disks no longer suitable for farming, had a welder fill in the hole in the middle and had a sandblaster blast off the paint. Chucks points to a well-used disk and notes that it likely came from a field in Lonoke or Carlisle, saying “My wife has cousins that are farmers, so they kind of supplied me while I was perfecting what I wanted.”
Today, the Blue Moon Disk is made from new crop cutting disks, but they’re still authentic tractor disks—in fact, Chuck must smooth the sharp edges before sending them to customers. The carefully-welded handles are unused horseshoes. The bottom of each steel disk is stamped with the name of the company and “Little Rock, Arkansas.”
Though Chuck originally intended for the disk to be used outside on a propane cooker, he found many customers were using them directly on stovetops—so he invented a method to make it easier and more effective to do so. Now known as the Blue Moon Disk Ring, the simple device allows home chefs to safely use the disk on a gas or electric range.
The cooking properties of the steel disk are somewhat different than cast iron, but like cast iron, the Blue Moon Disk isn’t fussy. After removing food residue, chefs simply rub a little cooking oil on the disk to season it.
Chuck, who works in IT, says, “I love to hunt and fish, but with kids I pretty much concentrate on hunting.” His daughters, ages 23 and 15, have shown little interest in hunting, and his son, who is 16, is often too busy with school to join in, but the entire family reaps the benefits of Chuck’s efforts in the woods. On the afternoon I make a visit, I also benefit. Chuck makes his almost-famous Blue Moon Fajitas, a succulent, flavorful and easy dish, but he also spoils us with deer steaks—tender, juicy and perfectly cooked. One of the handy features of the disk is its cooking area—the hot center allows for cooking up meat or sautéing vegetables, while the periphery is perfect for keeping already-cooked food warm until time to eat. “It lends to creativity when you’re cooking to have other dishes still on the same cooking surface,” he says. And creativity is the name of the game—Chuck even suggests cooking down fresh peaches before serving them topped with ice cream.
Visit bluemoondisk.com for a list of retailers.
Blue Moon Fajitas
Yields 6 servings
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow onion, cut into strips
1.5 pounds of your protein of choice (deer, chicken or beef)
3 tablespoons fajita seasoning
1 can stewed tomatoes, drained
1 lime, quartered
cooking oil for the disk
Coat your protein with the fajita seasoning. Set aside. Heat several tablespoons of cooking oil in the cooking disk over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions; sauté for five to ten minutes. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.
Add meat to center of disk. Cook over medium heat until slightly crispy on the outside. Turn. When almost cooked through, cut into strips with a chef’s knife. Move to the outer edges of the disk.
Add stewed tomatoes to the center of the disk and toss peppers, onions and tomatoes together to heat through. Add meat back to the center. Lay tortillas over the mixture to warm.