Sunday, August 24, 2014

Spicing things up with Chef Michael Symon

This summer, fellow Ohioan and equally cool bald guy, Chef Michael Symon, teamed up with Bank of America and Serious Eats for a summer BBQ promotion.  

I’m a sucker for spreading the word of BBQ.  What can I say?  In backyards all over the world, grillers have been posting their pictures to Instagram and Twitter with #123BBQ.  The stream of shots has been pretty incredible.

While BBQ can have different meanings, summer party has only one: fun.  BBQ isn’t always beef and pork, which is the theme of a post I wrote.  Sometimes it’s pizza.

Grilled PIzza

For years, I’ve been a pizza stone guy.  Yes, stones work great and I’ve tried endless variations of them, but when it comes down to it, the best-grilled pizza is just that, grilled.

I really have Jennie to thank during our photoshoot in June.  She is the master of the grilled pizza and it was there I realized just how wrong I’ve been doing it.

Dough in Hand

Whether I follow my good friend Dave’s route and make my own dough or buy my own good quality pre-made dough, it doesn’t matter.  The pizza is touching the grates.

Dough on grates

Over direct medium high heat, the dough only needs a few seconds to set up.

Done and Flip

One important note, don’t forget to “fork” the dough, which Zoë just did before oiling.

Brushing Oil

The dough is quick to rise on the hot grates.  

Grilled Dough

The forking, which is basically ramming a fork through the spread out dough, reduces this.  Thanks, not surprisingly, to Jennie for the tip.

Dough on kettle

With the first side of the dough done, remove from the grate and place on a piece of parchment paper cooked side up.


Cover with your favorite toppings and return to the grate.

Finishing the Pizza

Depending on what I’m making, I usually go indirect for the second cook.  I want plenty of time for the cheese to melt and the sauce to set in without burning the bottom of the pie.

Grilled Pizza

After a few minutes more, remove and serve.   Delicious and different.

Outside of highlighting pictures posted to social media, Chef Symon filmed a number of webisodes for the campaign.  During the filming a few months ago, I was invited to New York to interview the Chef about BBQ.  Sadly my schedule couldn’t swing it.

Instead, I submitted some questions, which the Chef filmed and answered.  Unfortunately, a contract issue popped up and they couldn’t release the video, but I do have his answers!

"Another Pint Please, Mike Lang asked: 'I love to grill and entertain but it's hard to do both at the same time.  What are your tips for spending little time on the grill without ignoring your guests?'  You know, this might seem like the opposite of what you may suspect, but I would say barbequing low and slow is a great way to enjoy time with your guests, and really serve delicious food.  It's typically stuff that you could get on eight to ten hours before anybody gets there, it holds very long so it could come off the, uh, grill or the smoker an hour before anybody arrives, uh, which really allows you to have a cocktail, hang out with your pals, and enjoy a delicious meal.

'When you have friends over, what is one of the go-to grilled appetizers to get the night started?'  You know, one of my go-to's is I love taking a prosciutto or any kind of cured ham, laying it out very thin, stuffing it with my favorite cheese, um, or even some figs, rolling it back up and putting it on the grill; or dates wrapped in bacon stuffed with almonds on the grill, absolutely delicious - those are always crowd pleasers and very simple.

'Hosting a weekend barbeque shouldn't mean blowing the bank account - any tips on having a cost-effective barbeque?'  Absolutely.  You know, just because you're hosting the barbeque doesn't mean you have to make everything that is at it.  You know, if you're a control freak like myself, maybe you make more than, than you have people bring.  But to make the main item and then give your friends a list of things to bring is gonna save you a ton of money and get everybody involved; just make sure that you tell them what to bring so you don't end up with 25 potato salads.  That's it, very easy. 

'Sometimes barbeque is thought of ordinary,' mind you, not me - 'how about if you want to grill something extraordinary?'  You know, I love doing a porchetta on the grill or the smoker - go to your butcher, you tell him that you want a pork belly with the loin in it; you fill that belly with your favorite herbs and spices and roll it back up, tie it off, put it in a, a, about a 225 degree smoker for eight hours and you will have the most extraordinary meal that anyone has ever created on a grill."

Here is one of the webisodes filmed by the Chef. I’m thrilled for the shoutout.  Warning, the video starts with a pre-roll advertisement.

Note: While although this is an obvious cross business promotion between the Chef, Bank of America, and Serious Eats, I received no compensation for my participation.  Sometimes I just do things I believe in.  It also helps Chef Symon is from Cleveland.  Cleveland Rocks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Relatively Wordless Wednesday

Remember, soaking a plank before grilling is important.  While pretty, this isn’t exactly what is supposed to happen:

When Planking Goes Bad

My continued favorite feature on my Weber Summit Grill Center?  The paper towel holder.

Paper Towels

I can’t tell you how many times it has saved me.

Finally, proper dinner prep requires the proper beer.  Enjoy your Wednesday.

Prep work

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What's on the Grill #305: Cheddar Bacon Sliders with Angry Orchard BBQ Sauce

We’ve been on a burger kick lately.  I’m not completely sure why.  Perhaps it’s encouraged by recipes, such as this one sent to me by Angry Orchard.  I mean how can you not grill something titled: Cheddar Bacon Sliders with Angry Orchard BBQ Sauce & Charred Jalapeño Relish?!  Just those 11 words alone make me salivate, while simulatneously triggering a Pavlovian response to fire up the grill.

It’s easy to see why.  Cooking with cider, or beer for that matter, is fun for two reasons: First, it adds a unique flavor profile to the recipe.  Second, recipes seldom call for an entire can or bottle (Translation: more to drink.)

While there is a lot to this recipe, it is well worth the effort.  Just make sure you have some time to grill it in the near future.  After reading through it, your senses will demand it!

Angry Orchard Ceddar Bacon Sliders

Cheddar Bacon Sliders with Angry Orchard BBQ Sauce & Charred Jalapeño Relish

By Angry Orchard Cider adapted by Another Pint Please

Makes 10 sliders

BBQ Sauce

2 t ground black pepper
6 gloves of garlic, minced
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 t ground cinnamon
2 T ground chipotle peppers
3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
2 cups Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider
3 cups apple-cider vinegar
1 12 ounce can tomato puree
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 t liquid smoke
2 T kosher salt


8 jalapeño peppers
1 cup pickled jalapeño pepper slices
1 T Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 t finely ground black pepper
2 t fresh cilantro, minced
1 t freshly squeezed lime juice


12 oz ground beef
12 oz ground smoked bacon
8 oz  shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
King’s Hawaiian savory butter dinner rolls, split in half

Tip: To save time, make the sauce and relish days ahead.


Angry Orchard In

Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a medium-sized pan.  

Kettle & Side Burner

Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Once cool, remove the bay leaf and smooth the sauce with an immersion blender.  


Over direct medium heat, grill the jalapeños.  


Rotate the peppers so that the skin of the peppers evenly chars and blisters.  Once done, remove the peppers from the grill and place in a bowl.  Seal the bowl with plastic wrap to allow the peppers to steam. Once the peppers have cooled, remove from the bowl and remove the charred skin.  

De-seed the peppers, trim off the ribs, and coarsely chop.


Place the jalapeños in a food processor with the remaining relish ingredients.  


Pulse several times until coarsely blended.  Set aside.

Mix together the ground beef, bacon, and cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  As usual, I used my Kitchen Aid mixing attachment to grind both the meat and the bacon.  


When it comes to ground beef, I like to be the one turning the crank.


Roll the meat into 10 equal sized balls.  

Tray of Balls

Smash the balls between your hands to form patties.


Place a dimple in the bottom side of the burgers to prevent swelling (aka Dad Burgers) on the grill.


Prep the grill for medium-high direct heat.


Since these patties contain cheese, be prepared for flare-ups.  While the cheese is a great addition to the burgers, it also makes for tricky grilling.  Stay vigilant!

Burgers on the Kettle

Grill the burgers about 4 minutes a side, flipping once.  

Sliders & Buns

Grill until the internal temperature reaches 165 F with an instant-read thermometer.

Grill the buns, cut side down, over direct heat for approximately 30 seconds a side.

Remove the burgers and buns from the grill.


Place a burger on the bottom part of the bun and top with the sauce and relish.  Serve.

Drizzle Sauce

If spicy foods are not in your wheelhouse, watch out here.  Both the sauce and the relish pack a little bit of a punch.  If spicy foods are your thing, get ready for seconds.

Angry Orchard Ceddar Bacon Sliders

The bacon and cheese give the burgers and extra surge of moisture while the use of sweet King's Hawaiian rolls plays nicely off of the heat of the accoutrements.  

Angry Orchard Ceddar Bacon Sliders

The sauce makes about 4 cups, so there is plenty not only for this recipe, but BBQ to come.  I can’t wait to re-deploy it.  

Angry Orchard Ceddar Bacon Sliders

The Crisp Apple Angry Orchard is a great addition to this recipe and as I knew, a little Angry Orchard in the dish means a little more in my glass at dinner.

Angry Orchard Ceddar Bacon Sliders

Note:  Angry Orchard provided me with a few cans of Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider and the recipe.  My friends there know I am easily motivated to grill!