Saturday, July 30, 2011

What's on the Grill #223: Grilled Haddock Tacos

I remember when I first tried Sam Adams Summer Ale back in the late 1990s.  It was a hot sunny day, the hair from my mullet tickled the back of my neck and I was trying a new beer.   It was love at first taste, it was good times.

Outside of the fact I can no longer imagine a flashback that includes hair, not much has changed.  In summertime, it's quite easy to grab a lager for a quick thirst quench, but for an ale head such as myself, Summer Ale always offered something more, especially during my formative years of beer discovery and waning months of hair growth.  It wasn't a big beer, which can sometimes be challenge in hot weather, it was simply unique and interesting.  I was hooked.

So, I was quite excited to receive in the mail a spice rub from Sam Adams based on the flavor profile of Summer Ale.  The rub, developed by Chef David Burke, contains all of those unique flavor points in the beer: the grains of paradise, lemon zest and the spice of cayenne pepper.  It only took me a few minutes to figure out I was having for dinner: grilled fish tacos.

Summer Grilling

Samuel Adams Summer Ale Spice Rub
Recipe by Chef David Burke
1/2 cup salt
2 T brown sugar
1/4 cup grains of paradise
1/4 cup lemon zest
1 t cayenne pepper
2 T dry thyme

Grilled Haddock Tacos
2 ears corn
1/4 pineapple, cored (canned slices will work too)
2 Haddock Filets
1 cup chopped cabbage
1 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup sour cream
4 T Samuel Adams Summer Ale Spice Rub
6 small flour tortillas
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

1.  Prep your grill for direct medium heat.  Husk the ears of corn, rub with canola oil and grill over direct heat for approximately 15 minutes, turning several times until cooked tender.

2.  Grill the pineapple over direct medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, turning once.

3. Remember, grilling fish is easy.  Just be sure to oil your grates well and let the grill do the work. Check the filets for bones and then season with 2 T Samuel Adams Summer Ale Spice Rub.  Clean the grill grates with a wire brush and then oil the grill grates with a paper towel soaked with canola oil.

Grilled Haddock

4.  Place the filets on the grill and cook for approximately 5 minutes.  When the filets are ready to be flipped, they should pop right off.  If you feel resistance, wait a minute more.  When ready, flip the filet and continue to cook another 3-5 minutes.  The filet will be done with it flakes easily.  Remove.

5.  Mix together 1/2 cup of sour cream with the remaining 2 T of the Samuel Adams Summer Ale Spice Rub.

6.  Remove the corn and pineapple from the grill.  Cut the kernels off the corn cob and collect in a bowl. Roughly chop the pineapple into small pieces.

7.  Place the tortillas on the grill and cook for approximately 30 seconds.  We just want to warm them, not incinerate them.
Tortillas all around

7.  Place the warmed tortilla on a plate and top with the haddock, cabbage, pineapple, black beans and sour cream mixture.  Squeeze the lime wedge over the filling, roll and eat.

Grilleld Fish Tacos

I almost forgot the most important step, enjoy a Summer Ale while grilling and then enjoy another with your dinner.  It is still my go to beer in the summer and now, a rub I can use all year round.

Disclaimer: Samuel Adams provided me the rub and recipe.  I am a stockholder in the Boston Beer Company.  I like roller skating in the rain.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Look Back: Grilled & Smoked Apples

Although things seem outwardly quiet here at APP,  just the opposite is true.  I've been busy working on my Saffire project and last weekend, played host to a family brew day.  What's the difference between a normal brew day and a family brew day you ask?  Easy, at the family brew day we are kept in check...sorta.  Also, I took a lot of video in the hopes of putting a tutorial, of sorts, together.   

Currently, we are out on the west coast visiting my sister, Anne.  I spied her new grill last night and am looking forward to firing it up.  We will also take advantage of the weekend to escape the miserable heat wave currently blasting the Midwest.  Good times await.

In the meantime, I'm going to jump in the way back machine and have a look back at What's on the Grill #145: Grilled & Smoked Apples Stuffed with Sausage & Sage.  Grilled apples are a delight and when you make it a stuffed sweet and savory combination, they are even better.  Have a great weekend everybody and get grilling!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Video: To Grill a Sausage

Here is another video in my on going "grill porn" series.  Sit back, grab a bib and enjoy the sweet sights and sounds of To Grill A Sausage:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What's on the Grill #222: Grilled Pineapple Corn Salsa

One of the great joys of summertime grilling, is having access to fresh fruit and vegetables.  How do you make any fruit or vegetable go from good to great?  Have it kiss some hot grates between the market and the dinner table.

Grilled Corn, Pineapple & Black Bean Salad

I love salsa and I like it even more when I grill the ingredients.  No matter your "salsa mix", consider the grill next time to add a new level of flavor and texture.

Grilled Everything

Grilled Pineapple Corn Salsa

1/2 whole pineapple, cored and cut into 1/2 slices
2 tomatoes
3 ears of corn, husks pulled back or removed
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2 slices
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1.  Over a direct medium fire, grill the pineapple, tomatoes, corn and red onion until tender, approximately 8-10 minutes.

2.  Remove from the grill and allow to cool.

3.  Chop the red onion, tomatoes and pineapple and remove the corn kernels from the cob.  Place all in a large bowl and mix with the black beans.  Add the olive oil, cumin and red pepper flakes.  Stir again and serve.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Latitude 48 IPA: Deconstructed

I am quite fond of Samuel Adams' Latitude 48 IPA.  The name, Latitude 48, relates to the hop growing region, or "hop belt", of the Northern Hemisphere.  Each of the five hops contained in the beer come from countries across this zone.

A little for me...

Follow this link to visualize the line across North America and Western Europe.  I guess I never realized just how far north the 48 is, as it runs just north of the continental US, south of the UK and right through the middle of France.

Anyway, enough with the geography...I don't know who it was, but someone at Sam Adams had a great idea of "deconstructing" the hops in Latitude 48.  Enter, Latitude 48 IPA: Deconstructed.

Latitude 48 IPA Deconstructed

Each of the five hops takes center stage in their own IPA, allowing the drinker to really understand the unique hop flavor of each variety. Since the grain bill for all of the beers is the same, the only difference is the impact of the individual hop.  It is a hop lesson in a box.

At the ready

Lessons are best learned with a friend (Note: Mostly non-embrassing ones).  Since Dave is huge IPA fan, we decided to get learned together and embark on the deconstruction.


Five hops are used: Ahtanum, East Kent Golding, Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Simcoe and Zeus.

5 Hops

We poured tasters from each of the bottles and lined them up alphabetically.  I was determined not to mix everything up, as visually, the beers are all identical.

Let the tasting begin

When brewing, I am always quick to smell the hops.  I try to retain the scent, in order to haphazardly place it months down the road when the beer is ready.  This process, is pretty much the same thing, but in reverse.

Here's how I summed up the hops:

Ahtanum - Slightly sweet, with a little bit of fruit and pine.  Alpha Acids (the measuring of hop bitterness) between 4 - 6.5%

East Kent Golding - These I have growing on my hop trellis.  Sweet, but quite mellow.  The hops really hit on the finish, as most of the bitterness was probably boiled off due to the lower AA of 5%.

Hallertau Mittelfrueh - A well rounded hop, which allowed the piney bitterness to balance nicely with the sweetness of the malt.  Packs a fairly low AA of 3.75%

Simcoe - I believe the note to myself was "balls to the walls hop". You can tell, or at least I believe, this is why Simcoe is a bittering hop and added early on in the boil.  It's AA of 13% is incredibly strong.  You can't miss it.

Zeus - Had a very earthy, floral taste to it.  Bold and bitter, is an accurate reflection of its 15% AA. Between the two high AAs, I liked Zeus a lot least when it's on its own, that is.


We had an absolute blast with the tasting.  I wish other brewer's did this sort of experimentation.  I mean, can you imagine a Hopslam deconstruction tasting?

My thanks again to Dave for attending "school".  We wrapped up the night with all of the hops back in a true Latitude 48 and after tasting them all separate, it was quite fun identfying their place in the final product.

This all started when I was lucky enough to find the Deconstructed pack at Belmont Party Supply.  If you also happen to inadvertently stumble on one, I implore you to pick it up and host your own tasting with friends.  You will not be disappointed and like us, learn a few things along the way.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Outdoor Beer Dispensing: Phase I

Since most of us in the Backyard Brewing Society now keg our own beer and my pipe dream of running keg lines from inside the house to the backyard was never going to materialize, I did the next best thing: started work on an outdoor ice powered kegerator.

Tub o' Beer

For years, we have used a large steel stock tank to hold beer for parties.  Sometime in late winter, Zoe and Dave were talking and hatched the idea of turning the stock tank into a keg chiller/dispenser.

When it comes to summer entertaining, homebrewed kegged beer is a whole lot less expensive than making a huge beer run.  Historically, the only problem with keg dispensing has been temperature control.  When it's 30 degrees outside, it's pretty easy keeping the kegs cold.  However, when it hits 90 in the summer, it's a whole different story.

This project is sort of a jockey box meats kegerator.  LIke a jockey box, ice is the primary cooling agent and like a kegerator, the keg goes inside the container.

Phase I, which I have posted here, is obviously incomplete, but totally useful even if a tad inefficient on the cooling side.

Using parts from Micro Matic, the best online source of draft beer equipment and knowledge, I obtained three taps, shanks and necessary parts.  Step One involved drilling three holes into the top part of the stock tank.  I figured since the holes were so high, even if the project failed, the stock tank would still be 90% usable.

3 Holes

From there, I hooked up the short shanks and connected the kegs.


The last step was adding my personalized tap handles.


I don't think Drew liked the pictures I picked out for his handles, even though I thought they were fairly nifty.  My thought is, even if you can't read by the end of the night, you can narrow your choice down to whose face you can make out.

With the kegs in place and the taps hooked up, I filled up the stock tank with ice to keep the kegs cool.  Now this is were Phase I ends and Phase II needs to kick in.  As you can see in the picture above, my ultra hip top is a brown tarp.  This is typically not the first thing you think of when you hear the words: insulated cover.

I plan on making a wood top, which will be supported by stacked 4x4s raised up from the rim of the tank.  The wood across the top will make a great surface to hold cups, glasses and what not.  On the underside of the top, I plan on adding some foam insulation to try and keep a little cold air in.  Also, depending on how many kegs I have, I can place baffles around their bases to try and keep the ice more concentrated.

Pulling a Pint

It's not exactly perfect, but it's cheap, convenient, scalable and entirely portable.  It will hopefully be totally finished soon.  Also, just in case we want to throw some canned or bottled beverages in the mix, I will continue to use my "wheeled" cooler now that the stock tank has a different use.

My new Beer Cooler

Update:  Here are the parts I used.  This project is scalable.  You can have one tap. You can have five.  How many is up to you.

1 - Shank
1 - Faucet
2 - Nuts
2 - Washers
2 - Tailpieces
Vinyl Hose, sold by the foot.  Figure at least 4 feet.
Faucet Wrench

To dispense the beer, you will need a CO2 cylinder and a regulator.  The cylinder can be found locally at either a home brew or commercial gas supply house.

To connect to a typical US style keg, you will need a sankey tap.  For a different style keg, check here.

If you want to add more than one keg, double the shank, faucet, nuts, washers, tailpieces, and hoses, and add a splitter.

The only thing missing is tap handle and you find those anywhere.  Good luck!