Sunday, July 27, 2014

On the Grill, Off the Grill, & In my Glass

Allow me to share some fun things happening both on the grill, off the grill, and in my glass.

I’m a member!

The Weber Kettle Club is dedicated to the preservation of the iconic Weber Kettle.

Weber Kettle Club Handle
Rescue.Restore.Respect
Not surprisingly its members hold the largest collection of vintage kettles.  Their passion is amazing.  I highly encourage you to check out their site and get involved in their community.  It is full of amazing stories and pictures ranging from Craigslist finds to restorations to “first cooks.”  It’s phenomenal.

Looking for tips on keeping your kettle in showroom shape?  This is the place for you.
In order to support their noble pursuit, I purchased a t-shirt.  I didn’t waste a whole lot of time waiting to try it on.

Member: Weber Kettle Club

Do you want to add to your kettle collection?  Here is a great “recipe” from IFTTT that scours your local Craigslist.  My thanks to Jeff for pointing the recipe out and to Troy for carrying the Weber Kettle flame.

Grilled

Several years ago, I wrote for several issues of Grilled Magazine.  Unfortunately, the mag only lasted a year.  Fast forward to 2014 and Grilled returns to newsstands.  Not only was I happy to contribute new recipes, I was excited to see the work from several others I admire including John at Grilling 24x7, Robyn the Grill Grrrl, Josh at Meatwave, and the almighty Ted Reader.

It is always great to be in print and even better when it is along side some fabulous friends: @grilling24x7 @meatwave @grillgrrrl

The magazine is stuffed full of recipes and photographs.  If your next cookout needs some inspiration, I suggest picking up a copy!

Beer

I’ve had some great beer lately and all of it has been from outside North America.

Riegele Privat

My friend, and consummate blues man, Eric Jerardi suggested Commerzienrat Riegle Privat from Germany.  It’s a Dortmunder, which more or less is a lightly hopped lager.  I found it clean, crisp, and effervescent, with the hops rising up slightly toward the finish.  It was a wonderful warm weather easy drinking beer.  It’s sessionable without having to be called “sessionable."  This, I like.

The next two beers hail from New Zealand.  8 Wired’s 2011 Grand Cru and the Yeastie Boys' Gunnamatta Tea Leaf IPA.

8 Wired's Grand Cru

The Grand Cru, which had a little pressure issue, was phenomenal.  There was no denying the 11% ABV, but the sourness impacted by the year long fermentation in Pinot Noir barrels was awesome.
One of the great things about Twitter is pulling out my iPhone and communicating with the brewers halfway around the world.
I need to find more.

Gunnamatta: Yeastie Boys

The same goes for Gunnamatta.  This is an IPA fermented with Earl Gray tea leaves.  What sounds, well, odd, worked really well. The tea cut down some of the hoppiness, but in turn made for a really interesting IPA
Beer Needs a Coaster

Not only does Pops-Q-Tool make a great BBQ Tool, they also make the most man-ish industrial coasters ever.

PopsQTool Coastersg

These bad boys, with logos, landed in my mailbox last week.  I didn’t waste any time putting them to use.  Orders can be placed through their website.  Yes, they are as every bit as cool as they look.

PopsQTool Coasters

100% Chance of Grilling

A big thanks to my friend, Meteorologist Tara Hastings, at WDTN.  She told me whenever she gives the "grilling forecast" she wondered what I was making for dinner (or lunch, or breakfast for that matter).  To give her an idea, I sent a picture on how I get things started.  I'm glad she put it to good use!
On the Grill

Planked Tomatoes

Over on the Weber blog, be sure to check out my write-up on planked tomatoes.  A short amount of time on the grill for these simple vegetables makes for a complex and delightful appetizer.

Grilled Eggplant Caprese Sald with Basil Vinagriette

Speaking of tomatoes, find a reason to squeeze eggplant caprese on to your next dinner menu.  With a basil vinaigrette these are the best.

Cast Iron Tomahawk!

This week I also enjoyed the incredible delight of a cast iron steak for dinner.

Griled Steak on Plate

The thrill of a grilled Korean BBQ lunch.

Korean BBQ

And the joy of starting the day with a grilled breakfast.

Grilled Vegetable Frittata with Gorgonzola

Note: Pops-Q-Tool was kind of to provide the coaster that the beer I am currently drinking is sitting on.  I was compensated for the posts linked to at Weber.com and I ate and drank everything else you see photographed.  Promise.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mixology Time: Angry ElderBerry Mojito

One of the more interesting aspects of the rise in cider popularity in the US, is the rise of cider inspired cocktails.  I’m solidly a beer guy, but that said, it doesn’t take much to get me off course.  This, as my friends will attest to, is not surprising.  

While I like my standbys, I’m always looking for something different and something new.  Speaking of which, Angry Orchard’s seasonal offering, Elderflower, is on shelves now.  If you are a fan of mojitos, as well as AO Elderflower, you are going to love this.  For me, it’s something new and something good. I’m in.

Angry Orchard Elderflower Mojito

Angry ElderBerry Mojito

1 oz white rum
4 slices strawberry
4 blueberries
4 mint leaves
1/2 bottle of Elderflower Cider

Mojito Makings

Muddle the berries and mint in a pint glass.

Ready to Muddle

Fill a pint glass with ice.

Add in the rum.

Rum in

Add in the cider.

Angry Orchard In

With another glass, give it a solid shake.

Garnish with strawberry.

Serve.

Angry Orchard Elderflower Mojito

Note: Angry Orchard provided me with a few bottles of Elderflower AND the mixology to make the Mojito.  The opinions and now empty glass are my own.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Party (now with Jazz Band)

Every summer we host a small party for friends.  It is great to get everyone together at the same time.  The kids swim, the adults do mostly adult things (mostly with empahsis.)  It is always a blast and thanks to nice weather, this year was equally, if not more, awesome than usual.

Party Time

The Food

When I say I love a "multi-grill meal,” I know parties are the best time to make it happen.  It’s nice to see the grills sitting on the deck uncovered.  However, I like them more when all are being used simultaneously.  It’s a party for me.  It’s a party for them.

This year’s meats were brisket, baby back ribs, and Boston Butts for pulled pork.  BBQ is one of the best foods to entertain with as a little goes a long way.  I usually add in some chickens, but this year my goal was to work less and relax more.  Chickens, while good, involve a little more work to carve up.

Speaking of relaxing, my other goal was to have most of the food ready prior to our friend’s arrival.  For long cooks with the brisket or pork, I usually get up extra early to get them on and then most importantly, off on time.  There is nothing as patiently waiting for the thermometer to hit 190 while the party start time creeps up twice as fast.

There was no way I planned on dragging my butt out of bed any earlier, so my solution was an overnight cook.  While ZoĆ« wandered off to bed, I grabbed a beer, some tunes, and prepped the WSM for a nighttime mission. 

Night Smoking

I followed my typical brisket prep with the rub consisting of 2 T sugar, 3 T salt, 3 T freshly ground black pepper, and a cross-hatched fat cap.  For the pork, I made a rub, but it was on the fly, past midnight, and not written down…so sorry, no help there.  I also added injections of Angry Orchard Cinnful cider…to the pork.  It was late, but it wasn’t that late.

I locked the WSM temp in at 210 F versus more towards 250 since I knew I had a long time ahead of me till the party.  With the WSM, and its load of cherry chunks doing its thing, I went to bed….

Zzzzzz.

I slept great, although I woke up a tad early as my reoccurring dream of a cold grill was hard to shake.  Usually my bladder wakes me up, so at least that wasn’t in play!  In the end, I should have known I had nothing to worry about.  The temperature gauge on the WSM hadn’t budged a bit.

Checking Temp

As the morning went on, I added ribs to the 26-inch kettle.  It is times like these, where I absolutely love the space and versatility of this grill.  Kettles make great smokers.   One note, I should have swapped the racks out.  Notice how much more cooked the rack closest to the fire is?  

Ribs on the 26

The 26 makes for a ton of smoking space.

By the end of the day, I ended up with almost a 14 hour cook.  

Meat on Board

The brisket hit 190 F internal first and was wrapped in foil and moved to a cooler to rest.  Soon after, the pork followed.

With the pork rested, and the start of the party still an hour off, I effortlessly removed the bone and proceeded to smash, then chop, the pork.

I sliced the brisket and chopped the ribs.  

Brisket

Keith put his BGE to work in the afternoon and brought over even more ribs which he sauced on a kettle.  

Sauced Ribs

The Samuel Adams Bacon Blue Cheese Dogs also made a comeback.

Grilled Pigs in Blankets

Brian, always one to jump in, grilled brats on the Summit.

Brian and his Weiners

The meat was ready to go, and so was the party.

The Spread

Probably one of the biggest changes for this year’s party was the music.  In the spring, we successfully bid on a performance by the Stiver’s School for the Arts Jazz Band.

Stiver's Jazz Band

These guys, all high school students, played the most amazing set.  

Stiver's Jazz Band

While our neighborhood has its share of impromptu live outdoor music throughout the summer, I think this is the first time the tunes have been provided by a tight jazz quartet.

Stiver's Jazz Band

Golf carts could be seen driving down the side road of our house and stopping to take it all in.

Stiver's Jazz Band

As we opened the chow line, the guys hit their groove and provided the best party background music we could have asked for.

Stiver's Jazz Band

When they left, it just wasn’t the same.

Stiver's Jazz Band

The Beer

The Taps

Home-brews from me and Dave were bookends to Deschutes Inversion IPA and Samuel Adams Summer Ale along with a Pimms Cup, Sangria, and some crazy beer-liquor concoction "the other Dave” brought in a cooler.  The only thing missing from it was the international symbol for poison.

The Lights Dim.

Ballons and Girls

While the kids did their thing.

Elin

We helped celebrate Carla’s 40 birthday.  

Birthday Girl

Welcome to the club, Carla!

It was wonderful, as always, to have the ability to celebrate the richness of life with so many of our wonderful friends.  Even if Gary pulled something in his back and scowled from his chair most of the evening.

Gary....argh

It has been another awesome year.

Night Time. The Right Time.

I expect next year will be even better.  Now, where’s my jazz iTunes playlist….