Saturday, March 26, 2011

What's on the Grill #210: Ginger Curry Rotisserie Chicken

More than likely, I have as many chicken rotisserie rub ideas sitting around as I do old grilling tongs.  Rightfully so, as chicken is an easy and fun canvas to experiment with.

Just a bit...

Most, if not all, of the rub flavor is on the skin.  So, if you don't like the rub, just remove the skin.  Only a hint of the rub will be left behind as you dive mouth first into the moist and succulent meat.  In my book, a rub hit or miss is still always a win.

To the grill!

Although I link the word "rotisserie" to this process, it can be used for any type of chicken preparation: roast, beer can, plank, etc.  Rotisserie is just my number one way method of grilling chicken, especially on a weeknight.

Spinning

Because of the constant spinning and self basting, the grilling timeline is somewhat flexible too.  This is good, because as I have documented so many time before, my grilling time management skills sometimes get a little wonky when I'm trying to do 10 other things while making dinner.

So regardless of your preferred method of chicken grilling, open up your cabinets, throw together some of your favorite flavors together and spin a bird this week.  Let the experimentation begin.

Ginger Curry Rotisserie Chicken

1 5 lb chicken
2 tbls canola oil

Rub:
1 tbls curry powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated garlic
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon

1.  Prepare the grill for rotisserie cooking, which depending on the grill, will more than likely be an indirect fire.

2.  Mix together the rub ingredients.

3.  Clean, rinse and dry the chicken.  Place a small about of the rub inside the chicken cavity, then truss the chicken and mount on the rotisserie spit.

4.  Mount the chicken to the spit and place across the sink.  Cover the chicken in oil and then sprinkle on the rub while rotating the chicken over the sink.

5.  Mount the rotisserie on the grill and spin.  Cook until the internal thigh temperature is 165 F, approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Curry Rubbed Rotisserie Chicken

 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's on the Grill #209: Steak, what else?

Friday nights in spring are a magical time.  It's the end of the work week and the gateway to the weekend.  The grill is lit by an extra hour of daylight and my mother-in-law can take advantage of a slightly reduced time difference to Skype in and taunt me with the beers they have and I don't.

Overseas Humor

Ahhh, gotta love those Brits.  (For the record it was a Badger Golden Ale, which I've had before and quite enjoyed).  Anyway, where was I...ahh yes, the weekend.

The magic of Friday historically marked the occasion of Ribeye Fridays.  Even though it seems as of late l've let the ritual slide, it is where I always go when I am really hungry and happy...on a Friday.

Meat on the Counter

I suppose one of the reason I enjoy the occasions so much is because it is quintessential grilling.  It is butcher to plate...though to action, in under 20 minutes. It is meat on flame.  It is simple.  It is good.

Flame

Spring time also means the role of the grill is no longer a short lived destination point reached only by dodging cold stiff breezes and dropping snow flakes.  Somewhere around late March, the grill goes from this brief pit stop of food preparation to a conversation destination point often marked by lingering friends and family.  The cocoon of winter finally breaks free.  The grill is not just where the food is, it is where the life of the night begins.  Good smells, laughter and full bellies...all the hallmark of warm weather grilling and right now, Ribeye Fridays.

The Sizzle

Long involved recipes have their place.  But after a long week, give me a night home at the grill, a good slab of meat and a beer.  You will find a very happy man.

In my heart, I believe the Skype call was less to give me grief and more to know what they were missing out on.  The smells, the laughter and full bellies can carry pretty far.  Ready your grill this Friday.  Spring is here and the ribeyes will be on.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Grilling Around the Web

Thanks to my fellow grill friends/bloggers, Another Pint Please has popped up in several different spots over the last week:

Josh Bousel, head griller, photographer and organizer of the most excellent Meatwave, was kind enough to give my herb-encrusted baby back ribs a whirl in his weekly Grilling column at Serious Eats.

Herb Encrusted Rotisserie Baby Back Ribs

Jon Van Dalen, resident cook and photographer at the tantalizing Victory or Death in the Kitchen, grilled spatchcock chicken after reading about my attempts here.

Spatchcocked Herb Chicken

Finally, The Huffington Post, chose my Guinness Beer Can Chicken as one of the top 10 Guinness recipes from Endless Simmer's list of 100 Ways to Cook With Guinness. Better yet, based on a reader poll, it seems to be the top choice!  Sadly, I drank more Guinness than what went into the recipe, but at least the picture is cool!

Cajun Rubbed & Smoked Guinness Beer Can Chicken

 

Banryu Ichi - Sake/Beer Hybrid

Where do I begin...one of the things I treasure most about my blog is the ability to connect with people who share the same passions as I do.  Who, through the course of every day real life, I would most likely never meet.  Enter my friend Todd, a fellow lover of beer and brewing.

Because of our mutual love of this special fermented beverage, Todd was incredibly kind enough to send me a few bottles of his latest endeavor, a Sake/Beer Hybrid called Banryu Ichi (Japanese for 10,001 ways).  Yes, not only can Todd brew beer, he can also make sake.  Wow.

Sake/Beer Hybrid

Although I have some friends who know quite a bit about sake, I have absolutely zero experience.  In fact, the only thing I do know (thank you Discovery Channel) is how to pronounce it: SAK-KAY, not SAK-E.

Not wanting to screw up something so special, I clarified with Todd on how to serve his brew.  He suggested taking it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before drinking and treat it like it an ale, with a serve temperature around 42-46 degrees F.  For glassware, he pointed me towards a white wine glass.  To further my knowledge (or lack thereof!), he sent me a link to a great sake FAQ.  (I had no idea there were so many sake breweries in Japan and the shelf life of sake was relatively short...it's an educational read.)

This hybrid brew backs a punch at 15%ABV.

15% ABV

Todd, thankfully, warned me.  I really wanted to share this with others, but for the sake of this blog, I couldn't wait...well, at least that's my story.  Truthfully, I have a second bottle that I will be sharing with the Backyard Brewing Society.  I look forward to their reactions.  Here are mine:

Sake/Beer Hybrid

The beer pours with almost no head, yet has an effervescent quality, like champagne.  The nose is very sweet and my initial taste is of fruit and apple.  As the beer goes across the palate, I really taste the warmth of the alcohol, but not really in an overpowering way.  It has the most wonderful sensation towards the finish, as the last of the brew goes down the hatch, it unlocks a lingering spiciness on my lips. Wow, what a ride.

Having never tried sake, I unfortunately having nothing to compare it to.  This, I need to remedy.  What I do know, is this is something pretty amazing.  To mix sake and beer and come up with something so unique is testament to Todd and his friend's at the Cambridge Brewing Company.  The story behind Todd's collaborative brew is rather interesting.  I encourage you to check it out and better yet, if you are in the Boston area, I suggest you try it for yourself.  This is an experience not to be missed.  Thanks, Todd!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What's on the Grill #208 Beer Braised Pork Shoulder

It's a crazy weeknight and time is short.  My stomach is growling and my sugar levels are dropping.  Do I order pizza?  Make a PB&J?  Of course not, I'm a man, I do things the hard way.

Well, at least I'm sure that's what Zoe was thinking, as for some reason, my brain connects "short on time" and "very hungry" with braise 3 pounds of pork shoulder for almost 4 hours and hope to not die of starvation in the interim...starting at 5 PM.

I'm not as dumb as the plan makes it sound, which I know is saying something.  Problem was, there was 3 pounds of pork shoulder in the fridge left over from the meatloaf a few nights ago.  I had to use it and didn't want to freeze it.  The whole dutch oven braising thing was sort of an afterthought.  I've never tried it before and certainly didn't think it would be really tasty, let alone blog worthy.   In hindsight, this was one of those unexpected meals, which was poorly planned, served way to late and turned out better than I could have ever imagined.

Beer Braised Pork Shoulder

3-5 lb pork shoulder
4 Tbls Rub
2 slices of bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced.
4 carrots, cut in half
1 onion, sliced
24 ounces/2 bottles of beer (in my case, an ESB homebrew)

1. Rub the pork shoulder with a rub of your choice. I used a combination of paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, brown sugar & cinnamon.

2.  Prep the grill.  As this was poorly thought out, I used the Summit, which is gas.  I would have preferred to use charcoal, but I was short on time and as I mentioned before, my blood sugar was dropping.  I used indirect heat, but opted to leave the center burner, which was below my dutch oven, on low.

3.  The initial step of braising is to brown the meat.  To carry this out, first place the dutch oven directly over the active flame.  With the dutch oven heated up, drop in the bacon.  Once the bacon begins to render fat, use some tongs to rub the fat all over the bottom and sides of the dutch oven.  Then, drop in the pork and brown all of the sides...about 10 minutes total.

4.  With the pork browned, drop in the carrots, onion, garlic and beer.  Move the dutch oven off of the direct flame and into the middle of the grill where I had the center flame set to low. Cover the dutch oven and close the grill lid.  Grab some nice cheese, a beer, read up on Charlie Sheen and wait.

IMG_2930

5.  I popped the lid, once, at the 2 hour mark to stir and make sure the castaway cats in the backyard (Ginger & Mary Ann) hadn't grown opposable thumbs, manipulated the lids and carried away my dinner.  Thankfully, they hadn't.  Good thing too, as I would have unplugged their heated water bowl and cat igloo blanket.  Revenge is a dish best served cold...but, I digress.

6.  By the four hour mark, the internal temp of the pork should register near 190 degrees.  If so, shut everything down, get the food inside and stuff your face, as that's exactly what I did.

Pork in the Dutch Oven

Braised pork tastes a lot different than the traditional smoked pork I make all the time.  In this case, different is good.  Zoe, who is not normally a huge pork eater, loved it.  I believe the beer has a lot to do with it.  With the shoulder still in the dutch oven, I tore off some pork, dropped in the beer and jammed it in my mouth...wow.  It's almost a meal by itself.  Who needs sides?

Beer Braised Pork Shoulder

Braised pork wrapped in a tortilla with some lettuce, freshly grated cheese and sour cream, is a meal which keeps on giving.  Hot/cold, now/later, braised pork is now on my radar.  Even if I need to eat in 30 minutes, I'll find 4 hours to make this happen...with a chair nearby too, just in case my blood sugar drops too much.  I have no time for a trip to the Urgent Care, I have pork to eat.

Monday, March 07, 2011

What's on the Grill #207: Planked Meatloaf

I had meatloaf a lot growing up, which most likely explains why anymore I almost never make it myself.  As my Mom is fond of saying while looking back over our childhood dinners, "I didn't like to cook".  Well that bombshell wasn't exactly a shocker.  It was my babysitter, after all, who gave me my earliest cooking lessons and furthermore, it explains why upon Dad's retirement he became the full-time chef/griller in the house.  He had years of chicken dinners to purge from his memory.

Now although I had meatloaf a lot in my younger full head of hair days, I did actually enjoy it.  It was after all, meat, shaped into a loaf and cooked.  Really, what isn't there to like?

In my never ending desire to move everything from the kitchen to the grill, I had one of those "who put their peanut butter in my chocolate?" moments and decided I needed to try meatloaf on the grill.

Instead of a pan, I went back to the plank.  Meatloaf never sounded so good.

Upon doing some quick research, I wasn't completely surprised that BBQ guru Ted Reader actually had a recipe for Planked Meatloaf in his great book, King of the Q's Blue Plate BBQ.  I've talked about Ted before, as he really puts the extreme into extreme grilling.  His recipes have three common features: lots of ingredients, lots of creativity and booze.  He's my kind of griller.

Since Ted had already blazed the path, I decided to not totally re-invent the wheel.  The end result? Let's just say meatloaf will be back in rotation on the grill.

Planked Herbed Beer Meatloaf

Based on the recipe by Ted Reader

1 cedar plank, soaked in water for at least an hour

1/2 ground sirloin
1/2 lb ground pork
1/4 cup + 1 cup BBQ sauce
1 medium onion, minced
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 gloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp fresh herbs (I used rosemary, thyme & parsley)
4 oz + 4 oz beer
Salt & Pepper
6 strips of bacon
2 tbsp rub of your choice

1.  Grind your own meat!

Diced

Very rarely these days do I buy pre ground meat.  I would much rather using my own grinder and make the magic happen at home.  One word of note, when I use my Kitchen Aid mixer attachment to grind, it tends to shoot meat all over the place.  In order to keep the kitchen more kitchen and less petri dish, I attach a paper towel to act a as a flap.  It works pretty well.

From the sideThe Grinding Apron

2.  Mix together all of your ingredients, including just 1/4 up of the BBQ sauce and 4 oz of the beer.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Beer in

Place 1 cup of BBQ sauce and the remaining 4 oz of beer (assuming you didn't take a sip) into a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

3.  Place your cedar plank on the counter and place your meat mixture on the plank.  Try and make an oval with the meat and be sure to leave as much room as possible around the plank edges.

Meat on Board

4.  Using the bacon strips, put a "skirt" around the loaf making a seal between the plank and the loaf so no meat is exposed:

Bacon Skirt

5.  Using the remaining strips, cover the top of the loaf so again, no meat is exposed.  We are essentially making a meatloaf bacon casket. You could go all out for a bacon weave, but for now the bacon shawl will work.

Bacon Blanket

6.  Prep the grill for indirect medium.  Place the plank directly over the coals for the first 10 minutes and then move off of the coals for the remaining cook.  Be careful the plank doesn't catch fire when it is directly over the coals.  Shoot for an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  It was cold out when I was grilling, for me it took almost an hour to get the right temperature.

Once you get to temperature, baste the loaf with some of the reduced BBQ sauce.  Close the lid for a few more minutes, allowing the sauce to carmalize, then remove and serve with the extra sauce.

Planked Meatloaf

I liked this a lot.  Now if you are partial to your own meatloaf recipe, use it.  The neat thing about this version is the addition of the plank, bacon and sauce.  It makes a huge difference.

A word of warning, Ted's meatloaf is full on flavor.  It was almost too much for Zoe.  The herbs, onion, rub and saucepacks a big flavor punch.  Which, is why I had it again today for both lunch and dinner.

Planked Meatloaf

Well, I've gotten over my childhood meatloaf thing.  Now if only I could figure out a way to plank that old sour beef and noodle thing Mom used to make...it might make me actually want to eat sour beef and noodles again.