Monday, April 27, 2009

What’s on the Grill #132

Pulled Pork with hot pepper vinegar sauce!  As a friend on Flickr aptly pointed out, grilling a boston butt is a great brew day food.  It takes little effort to maintain and has an incredibly rewarding finish.

Smoking chips

I used the 26 for the pork only because I thought I was going to add some ribs later on.  As the day went on, I forgot.  I should have stuck with the 22.  The cook went 9 hours, and I had so-so heat control.  I tried to reduce my unlit charcoal compared to last time, but I reduced it by too much.  I added some unlit coals around the 5 hour mark to get me through the end.  At times the temp spiked up at 300 and plunged to 150 as I screwed around.  Wait, I said “easy to maintain” right?  Well usually it does when I am not charging into new territory with the 26 while brewing beer 15 feet away!

Pulled Pork

I used apple wood for the smoke and the flavor was great.  However because of my heat issues, I was a little shy of 190 degrees on the pork…and we were hungry. 

The pork was served with a wonderful hot pepper vinegar sauce.  It is simple and oh so good. 

Thanks again Jamie Purviance!

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 Tbls sugar
1 Tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 Tsp red pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix the ingredients together in a pot.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Cool and serve…it is that easy.

Sandwich & Slaw

Served with up firecracker slaw and toasted buns, this is my go to summer dish…and a fitting end to brew day.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The crazy things men do…

Yeah, crazy about sums up the day.  Unusually hot April weather set the stage for a day full of mantivites.  What does friendship, homebrew, and a hog’s stomach have in common?  They were all bullet points on our mangenda. 

The day started early when I put a Boston Butt on the 26 inch Weber even before I had breakfast.  To give you an idea of the kind of dedication this takes, I never miss eating an early breakfast (or a late one for that matter). 

Getting ready

Around noon, our merry bunch of home brewers started to show up.  Eric recently started dabbling in homebrew in the last couple of months.  Today was the first day he was going to use his new kettle, burner, and fermentor.   I was going for my third all-grain batch.  I hope it turns out better than the last two.  I am going with the proper recipe a friend of mine passed on to me.  I figure once I really nail it consistently, I will start to dabble with it.  Also, I say proper because last time I had to alter the grain bill significantly because of my short prep window.

Dave works the mash

With the brewing under way, I promised the guy’s something different for lunch: hog’s stomach.  Now this is something I literally stumbled on.  I went looking for a pork belly at the store and when I went to pick “it” up, I got a stomach.  Since I am pretty good at making lemonade out of lemons…or should I say beer out of malt and hops, I said what the hell. 

Ever want to see a hog's stomach?How about a stomach stuffed with good fixins?It doesn't look pretty...

Thanks to Wikipedia, I learned that a hog’s stomach, or maw, is used in several different ethnic dishes.  Closest to home, the Pennsylvania Dutch make maws by stuffing them full of potatoes, sausage, and cabbage.  Fortunately, potatoes, sausage, and cabbage satisfy three of my seventeen food groups.  I figured I was set. 

From one stomach to another

Some further digging through the interwebs turned up several similar maw recipes.  This one in particular was my favorite because it had pictures.   The stomach is essentially a vessel for the stuffing.  Now I am usually pretty good with anatomy, but after looking at the previous hog maw pictures, I was little perplexed as to why I couldn’t find the opening to the stomach.  Dave smartly noted that stomach was butchered open.  My grandfather, who worked at a meat packing plant, probably rolled over in his grave. 

Hops in!

My second error was that I did not have any good kitchen stitching equipment.  I’m just not always stitching animals closed apparently.  In the linked to article above, the woman sewed her stomach up (the hog’s stomach…not really hers) with the precision of a surgeon. I, on the other hand, went at it like Dr. Nick from the Simpsons.


After stuffing and binding the stomach, I threw it in a pan and grilled it indirect for almost an hour.  The results?  Actually, really good.  No one keeled over and everyone went back for seconds.  We were all in agreement that the smooth inner lining was quite tasty.  Next time I will try and be more prepared so I can sew the stomach up properly.


Both batches of our beer are fermenting strong tonight, so only time holds the true answer to our success.  The day was great.  It is hard to believe we slugged it out for nine hours.  Hot weather, great beer, two meals and good friends.  Thanks Eric, Keith, Nate, Dave and Gregg (Hopefully next time The Drew makes it)!  Mantabulous!


What’s on the Grill #131

Grilled Porterhouse with grilled lobster tail and curry butter!  This was Friday night, and what better way to kick off the weekend than a little surf and turf.  I had an extra lobster tail sitting in the freezer from earlier in the week, so I built a lot of anticipation into this meal knowing the tail was waiting for me.  I have had a love/hate relationship with lobster for some time.  I find it is either prepared right, or it’s not.  In fact, if I am going the crustacean route, I often prefer the lobster’s leggy friend Mr. Crab.  You really can’t screw up crab…but you also can’t grill it (or can you?….).
Grilled Lobster Trail
I will skip talking about the steak, outside of letting you know it was a nice cut and had a lot of flavor.  I used my simple salt, pepper, and “a third” rub.  The third here was paprika.  For the lobster, I dropped the tail into a pot of boiling salted water for 8 minutes.  With the tail now mostly cooked, I moved it to the grill over direct high heat and cooked it for an additional 7 minutes.  During the grilling of the lobster, I brushed on some curry butter.
I started the steak a little bit before the lobster so both the turf and the surf beached themselves at the same time.  For a little veg, I added the always good grilled zucchini.
Land & Sea
I could be biased, but this is by far the best lobster I have had.  The grill adds a wonderful smokiness to the flesh and the curry butter, thanks to The Flay, is simply divine.  If you have ever had a bad lobster experience, I encourage you to take that thing out of the pot and put it on the grate.
Curry Butter
Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Boy Gets Grill p.122
2 Tbls Olive Oil
1/2 small red onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Tbls curry powder
2 cups white wine
8 ounces unsalted butter
Heat oil in a skillet.  Add the onion and garlic, cook and stir for about 5 minutes; do not brown.  Add the curry powder and cook and stir for an additional 3 minutes.  Add the wine, simmer and reduce until reduced to about 1/4 cup.
Place the butter in a bowl, add the curry mixture, and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for two hours.  I made mine earlier in the week and froze it.
After this hearty meal, I “rested it off” with some fire time and Bell’s Oberon.  What a great night.
Peace & Fire

I’ll take mine medium rare please….

(Photo via Serious Eats) 
What a way to start the day…I’m thinking about dinner again before I have even had breakfast (I am not complaining by the way).  Check out this great post Serious Eats has about Smith and Wollensky’s Prime Rib.  Nick Solares of Beef Aficionado walks through S&W’s meat locker and the entire prime rib aging, preparation, and cooking process.  I love to see the inner workings of something as simple and beautiful as prime rib, or better yet some thick cut bone-in ribeyes.  It has been years since I have been to Smith & Wollensky’s, and I think the closest one is in Columbus. Road trip anyone?

Friday, April 24, 2009


With ZoĆ« in England for two weeks, it is hard to believe that I am already four days into my Mancation and this is the first post I have had! Needless to say, work has been crazy, but I will make up for it with my wannabe leisure lifestyle this weekend…which started 5 hours ago... (Note: There will be no Mancation list this timewell, not totally!)

Right now, the grill is fired up waiting for WOTG #131. I will give you a hint, it’s part crustacean and part cow.

First off, my thanks to Chris at Unequivocalnotion for posting the video below. I heard about it on Twitter, but Chris’s blog was the first place I saw it. Crazy enough, I am brewing tomorrow, although on a far lesser scale than the giants in the video. Regardless, it is the love of beer and its originality, history and self-reliance that strikes a chord with me. Dare I say, this thing moved me.

From my glass to yours:

Am I worthy?

Cheers…and roll on Mantivities!

Monday, April 20, 2009

What’s on the Grill #130

Grilled Korean Short Ribs!  I have made these before, but with rather shoddy ribs and a short marinade time.  This time was different. I had nice thick beef short ribs and a long marinade of 10 hours.  In fact, I happened on the ribs by chance at the butcher.  Just the size of them alone, about 2 x 3, dropped the idea in my head [Insert sound of coin being dropped down long well and a faint splash].

Beef short ribs can be prepared any number of ways, but for this recipe they are grilled Korean style which means direct high heat.

Shortribs Slice 

To prep the ribs, you first need to “cut them open”.  Place the rib in front of you, with the bone facing down.  Take a knife, and slice the meat horizontally across the top of the bone.  Stop just before you get to the end, and then unfold the piece you just cut.  Then on the meaty section you just flapped, starting about a half inch from the “seam”, cut down about two thirds into the meaty and flap that open.  Your ribs should look like this:


For the marinade, I turn to the ever trusty Weber Red Book :

Korean Short Ribs

1/3 cup soy sauce
3 Tbls brown sugar
2 Tbls rice vinegar
2 green onions, minced
2 Tsp minced garlic
2 Tsp Asian sesame oil
2 Tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 Tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 Tsp of each salt and pepper

Whisk the ingredients together and then place both the marinade and the ribs in a plastic bag.  Allow the ribs to marinade in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours.

Remove the ribs from the marinade and pat try.  Allow the ribs to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes while you prep your grill.  Remember, these ribs are cooked hot and fast.  Preheat your grill to high.  Grill the ribs over direct heat for approximately 5 to 7 minutes.  Depending on how much marinade is left on the ribs, stay vigilant for flare-ups. 

Grilled Korean Short Ribs

I made these for an appetizer.  I cut them up into bite size pieces and served them toothpicks.  The best pieces?  The fat and when the guests weren’t looking, I gnawed on the bone.  Good stuff.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What’s on the Grill #129

Grilled Grouper & Prosciutto Sandwich!  Fish, it’s not just for dinner…it’s also for lunch.  I ducked into the Dayton Fish Company today and while there decided to pick up some Grouper for lunch.  There is nothing I like better than a grilled fish sandwich.  It’s incredibly easy, fast, and always satisfying. 

To add a little something different, I decided to try some “grilled” prosciutto.  Now I am leaving the “grilled” in parenthesis because the prosciutto was only on the grill for about 3 seconds…on one side.  My goal was to add a little bit of smokey/grill flavor to the prosciutto and in my opinion, I succeeded.  It was nice.

Prosciutto on the Grill

For the grouper, I seasoned both sides with some rub I had sitting around.  I pre-heated the grill for direct medium and oiled the grates with a paper towel soaked in canola oil.  This step is a must so that your fish doesn’t stick to the grates.

Grilled Grouper & Prosciutto Sandwich

I grilled both sides of the grouper for about 3 minutes.  Once the grouper rounded the corner to the finish line, I “grilled” the prosciutto and toasted the buns.  I piled the cooked fish and prosciutto on the buns and topped it with cheddar cheese and a mixture of puree chipotle and mayonnaise.  Served up with a couple pickles, the entire meal took 15 minutes…including eating.  That’s what I call a satisfying Saturday lunch. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

What’s on the Grill #128

Leftover Pizza Night!  Or more specifically, pizza made from leftovers!  The impetus for this entire thing started with this post by Dave over at Weber_Cam.

Some weeknight, I'm going to make a 12" pizza with nice bubbles and a beautiful airy crust. If you want to follow along, put 2 cups flour, 1 cup water, 1/2 t dry yeast (any kind) and 1 t salt (regular or 1.5 t kosher) in a container, mix into a ball, don't bother kneading and toss in the fridge until about Tuesday night. It's gonna be awesome.

Well as things tend to go, as in “not according to plan”, I missed Dave’s update until Thursday.  It turns out he was not happy with his results and better yet, I still had a bowl of dough sitting in the fridge.  I decided to let it right and over the weekend I let the dough sit out one night.  I then punched it down and placed it back in the fridge the next morning.  Tonight (Monday) I decided “what the hell” and put it to use.

Leftover Pizzas

The dough was really springy, and I had a hard time pounding it out (Be sure to check out Dave’s video).  I think each pie was only about 8 inches in diameter when it was all said and done.  For the toppings, I used the leftovers from last night: sausage, onion, pepper on top of a base of mayonnaise (yes, mayo…trust me on this).  For the other pie, I used pesto, pancetta, prosciutto, and feta cheese.

The only downside of the night was when my “pizza stone” cracked on the grill.  It has had a fissure forming for some time and tonight was the stone’s final journey.  Fear not though, it was only a natural stone tile and I got it from Lowe’s.  I will soon have another.

I love Dave’s use of parchment paper under the pizzas.  I went with the paper route and steered away from the screen that I have so come to depend on. 

While in the grill, the pizzas puffed up like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man.  This is out of ignorance, but I am guessing it must be a product of the incredible long proofing time.  The results were great.  The dough was unlike anything I have ever made before. 

Now there is no way I can plan pizzas a week in advance.  However, I can stay tuned to Dave and see whatever he cooks up next.  Now just to put that baguette pan to use that Dave and Andrew always talk about….

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What’s on the Grill #127

Melt Away

Burgers, Brats, Bacon…oh my!  It has been a busy weekend, and I really hadn’t plan on hitting the grill….at least until the great weather today.  After cutting the grass for the first time and with the house “Springerized”, a summerish cookout was the only way we could end the night (For the record, “Springerized” has nothing to do with someone waiting for DNA results as ewto thought.  He meant to refer to Maury Povitch).


Tonight was simple.  Bacon cheeseburgers, beer brats, corn, and baked beans.  The wonder of it all is that I was able to grill everything on the 26 inch Weber.  With the grill set up for indirect, I started the sausage over direct and after browning, moved them to their beer bath over indirect.  The corn was covered in butter and granulated garlic, wrapped in foil, and also placed on indirect.

Lovin' the 26

Grilling bacon is tricky. I could only let it go for several seconds over direct heat.  As the bacon would start to flare up, I would either flip it or move it off the heat.  After several evolutions of this, I moved it to the beer bath to “hang out” with the sausage. 

Grilled Bacon

Before adding the burgers, I added a pot of baked beans to cook indirect.  The burgers were then grilled over direct heat and then topped with cheddar cheese.

Grilled Beans

A simple meal, but sometimes that is what makes warm spring nights even that much more enjoyable.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

What’s on the Grill #126

Chicken on a Stick!  For some reason whenever this meal comes up I initially turn my nose up at it.  However once it is done, I find it strangely satisfying.  I don’t know if it is the simplicity, or the fact that it uses boneless/skinless chicken breasts.  Whatever it is, I’m just glad I am able to work though my “issues” and enjoy it.

Chicken Skewers

Chicken on a stick is essentially a chicken kebab…with just chicken…and a stick.  The recipe comes from the most vaulted Weber “Red Book”.  

Chicken on a Stick p.253

1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp granulated onion
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried lemongrass
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/3 cup canola oil

In a medium boil combine all of the ingredients except for the canola oil.  Once mixed, whisk in the canola.  I took 3 boneless and skinless chicken breasts (stay with me!) and cut them up into 1 inch chunks.  I then mixed the chicken breasts in with the paste.  Actually in full disclosure, Zoe did all of this.  I just showed up towards the end…

After the chicken marinated in the pate for about an hour, I threaded each piece onto a skewer while being incredibly careful not to gouge my hand…which I do every single time I make this.  I have the puncture wounds to prove it.

With the chicken on the skewers place them on your grill over medium direct heat for approximately 10 – 12 minutes.

Chicken for Dippin'

The Weber recipe calls for an Asian Dipping sauce.  Since we were completely out of soy sauce, I opted for a tres sauce option: salsa verde (left over from the other night), creamy chipotle (also left over), and some really good BBQ sauce from the Weber Grill Restaurant.  You, of course, can dip your chicken in whatever you like.

Monday, April 06, 2009

What’s on the Grill #125

Beef & Veg

Grilled Ribeye with grilled red potatoes on watercress with blue cheese vinaigrette.  After traveling home from Florida, Zoe figured I wanted something to look forward to, so she picked up the makings for thi meal.  It is simple and impossible to go wrong.

Ribeye on grill action...

Everyone knows my love affair with the ribeye.  Boneless and a little under a pound, it was rubbed with pepper, kosher salt, and a touch of cayenne.  The red potatoes were boiled until barely cooked, about ten minutes.  The red potatoes were a little on the small slide and since I didn’t feel like playing “sailor overboard” on the grill, I placed aluminum foil on the grates.  The potatoes were brushed with olive oil.

"Grilled" Potato

The ribeye was grilled over high heat, while the potatoes on the foil were grilled over medium heat.  Both were grilled for approximately ten to twelve minutes.

With the ribeye cooked to medium rare, I took it off the grill and allowed it to rest.  Zoe arranged the watercress on the plates.  The potatoes were then placed on the watercress.

The Side

From Bobby Flay’s Boy Gets Grill p.84:

1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 small shallot
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

All of these ingredients were mixed together to form the vinaigrette and then drizzled over the potatoes.  This vinaigrette is so good, you will find yourself doubling it to use the next day for something else.

For this meal, I would gladly change Ribeye Friday to Ribeye Sunday.

Operation: Birthday Surprise

Birthday Boy

This past weekend, I secretly traveled to Florida to meet my youngest brother and sister to surprise our Dad for his 70th birthday.  Although we were traveling from California, Texas, and Ohio, we managed to arrive within an hour of one another.  With the help of Mom’s best friend, Mrs. H, who was only let “in on the plan” at the last minute, we hitched a ride from the airport to Mom & Dad’s house.  Originally, we were going to surprise them for lunch.  Mom’s friend was going to arrange the meet up.  However, Mom & Dad were stuck at home waiting for a UPS package to arrive that they had to sign for (Thanks Tim!) and did not want to venture out.

In wait...

We quickly rolled with Plan B, because well…that’s how we roll. Well at least Matthew and I do…Anne just kind of plods along.  Anyway, Mrs. H pulled up and went into the house to ask Dad about some “car problem” she was experiencing while the three of us hid outside in wait.  Fast forward 20 minutes…and we were still waiting.  Just when we all thought we had succumbed to the Florida sun, they rolled outside (We later found out that Dad was in the shower.  We had already decided he was in the bathroom, but we just thought it was to escape from Mom).


Upon seeing us, Mom turned into a living rendition of “The Scream”.  Dad, after briefly checking his heart for the correct rhythm, recovered first. Needless to say, they were surprised and happy.

The Wine Room

The weekend went by fast, but it was not without good food and good drink. Most notably, we took Dad to Ruth’s Chris for dinner. Anne managed to reserve their wine room which is a glass…well, wine room…in the middle of the restaurant.  Dad has been wanting to have dinner in there for some time.  We had a great meal and I once again treated myself to the Cowboy Ribeye.  This bone-in meat treat is always, always good.  The privacy was also nice, because Matthew wasn’t too embarrassed when I swung my camera out…unlike last time we had dinner when I was visiting him in Houston.

Cowboy Ribeye

For night two we grilled Dad style.  A mixture of salmon filets and red snapper grilled with butter and dill.  It’s a blessing to have the Webers at Dad’s southern command post.

Grilled Salmon

In hindsight, it was a trip I will not forget.  I am blessed to have such a wonderful family and speaking of family, it would not have been a trip if Anne didn’t miss her connection back to LA…which she did.  Some things never change.  Happy Birthday Dad!