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

Relish

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

Burgers

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.  

Blend

Over direct medium heat, grill the jalapeños.  

Jalapenos

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.

Chopping

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

Jalapenos

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.  

Mix

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

Ball

Roll the meat into 10 equal sized balls.  

Tray of Balls

Smash the balls between your hands to form patties.

Smash!

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

Dimple

Prep the grill for medium-high direct heat.

Kettles

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.

Slider

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!  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Vieluxe: a little Weber History via Denver

Last week we spent a long weekend in Denver visiting friends.  To say it was a spectacular visit is an understatement.

Denver is simply amazing.  We had the hustle of the city on one side and the majesty of the mountains on the other.  Our time flew by.  Our hosts were impeccable.

Red Rocks

We spent Saturday hiking.  

Looking Up

For lunch, we stopped at the picturesque Bistro Colorado.  

Bistro Colorado

Featuring a farm fresh menu, I feasted on an elk burger.  

Elk Burger

Fabulous and hardly gamey.  

Wine Tasting

We also sampled a number of their wines.

Glasses

While everything about the day was perfect, it was a dinner party that night which reigned supreme.

The running joke was we were going to Scott & Christina’s for dinner, but I was the one doing the grilling.  The guest, me, will cook. As funny as this may seem, I would not have had it any other way.  Besides, Marsha was there to help keep me on track and the opportunity to grill at Scott & Christina’s beautiful home was a gift.

This point was further accentuated since I was grilling on an original Performer and this:

The Vieluxe

The Vieluxe.

The Vieluxe

The Vieluxe is, believe it or not, a Weber grill.  Manufactured between 2001-2005, it was a luxury grill, literally.  It also had a luxury price tag topping out at around $8000.

The Vieluxe

While the Vieluxe name has faded off the front of the grill, everything is original.  Outside of one of the ignitors, which just needs new batteries, everything works perfectly.  Not bad for a 13-year-old grill.

The Vieluxe

The Vieluxe is a beast.  It’s heavy, it’s solid, and it could survive a natural disaster.

The Vieluxe

I immediately, of course, tweeted a picture of the Vieluxe.  Chris Allingham, from the indispensable Virtual Weber Bullet and Virtual Weber Gas Grill, immediately filled me in on some details.    Just a few days ago, Chris added a post about the Vieluxe to the VWGG on the heels of our tweets.  For all of the background information on the Vieluxe, including some publicity stills and pamphlets, I encourage you to check it out.

The Vieluxe

Scott raised the lid and fired it up.  While the burner’s were rated for 75,000 BTUs, they certainly seemed hotter.  Maybe it was the mountain air, but I was fairly certain I lost hair on my arms reaching for some asparagus.

The Vieluxe

The side table slid out of the way to reveal two side burners.  I love how there is no sacrifice for space.  You can use the burners and the side table at the same time.

The Vieluxe

I found it interesting that the rotisserie IR burner had a cover.  It was also huge, probably twice the size of the IR burner on my Summit.  Scott has used the rotisserie a lot through the years.

The Vieluxe

While the Vieluxe handled asparagus, peppers, veggie burgers, and romaine, the Performer, also in near flawless condition, handled the main event: a herb encrusted beef tenderloin.

Grilled Tenderloin

Sorry there are no plated pictures of dinner.  I was talking so much, I almost missed my mark on the meat.  Only Zoë and Marsha pulled me back into action and truthfully, the meat was a little more medium than it should have been.

As the sun settled over the horizon, we feasted on dinner, drank wine, and laughed.  A lot.  With darkness upon us, I also enjoyed a bottle of Great Divide’s Oatmeal Yeti Imperial Stout, which Shum had brought me.  When in Denver, drink Denver.

It was a weekend full of adventure, friends, grilling, and history.  What more can you ask for?