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.
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.
Over direct medium high heat, the dough only needs a few seconds to set up.
One important note, don’t forget to “fork” the dough, which Zoë just did before oiling.
The dough is quick to rise on the hot grates.
The forking, which is basically ramming a fork through the spread out dough, reduces this. Thanks, not surprisingly, to Jennie for the tip.
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.
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.
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.