Sunday, September 30, 2012

Raise the Stein

Fall is one of my favorite seasons and Samuel Adams Octoberfest is easily one of my favorite beers.  For the last fifteen years, the seasonal release of Octoberfest has signaled the start of darker nights, cooler days, and flavorful malty beers.  Although seasonal beers seem to always get released earlier and earlier, my enthusiasm for them never dampens, especially when it concerns Octoberfest.

A pair of Octoberfests

As a way of celebrating Octoberfest in the US, Samuel Adams is hosting the second annual National Stein Hoisting Competition.  The grand prize is a trip to the 2013 Octoberfest celebration in Munich.  Nice.

Thankfully, you can stein host with or without lederhosen.  

Stein Pour

How does it work?  Easy.  Grab a stein and fill it with Sam Adams Octoberfest.  Next, grab your beer filled stein and extend your arm straight out, parallel to the floor.  Keep your arm rigid, grit your teeth, and think of Munich.  The stein held longest in the air wins.  According to the current leader board, that's about 16 minutes.  I can safely say this is a feat of strength and mind.  I never held a beer that long and not tasted it.

The official competition started last week in Cincinnati, Boston, Denver, and Chicago.  However, there is a fairly extensive list of local competitions during the next two weeks.

Grab some beer, grab a stein, and get practicing.

Raise the Stein

Prost!

Note: Samuel Adams provided me with this kick ass stein.  Although it's really nice, I could just as easily drink Octoberfest out of a plastic cup. I like it that much, and always have.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's on the Grill #254: Ethiopian Spiced Smoked Short Ribs

When I make short ribs, I almost always grill them Korean style by filleting them out and cooking them fast.  A couple weeks ago, my friend at TheBrewingCook had a post where he smoked the short ribs whole.  I was intrigued.  I'm not sure why, but I have never smoked them without a little butchering action.  So, when I stumbled on some great looking short ribs at the store, I knew what I was in for.

Short Ribs on the Saffire

Smoked Short Ribs
by Another Pint Please

4 short ribs, about 2 lbs

1 Tbls pepper
1 Tbls kosher salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Ethiopian spice
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp dried ghost peppers
1/2 tsp coriander

Ethiopian Spice

First, a few notes.  I had a friend supply me with a few special ingredients, namely the Ethiopian spice and dried ghost peppers.  For substitution, you can add dried jalapeños for the ghost peppers.  For the Ethiopian, I have no idea.  It's some crazy earthy, spicy stuff.  I suppose the easiest way would be to leave it out.

I opted to go to the Saffire since smoking was in order, so I prepped it for indirect.  Anything will work: kettle, gas, just make sure it's indirect.

Mix the rub ingredients together and then rub the meat.  Be sure to hit all four sides.

Rubbed Short Ribs

Place the ribs on the grill and smoke for about four hours.  The short ribs are thick and need time for that delicious fat to render.

Short Ribs

They can be either smoked dry or wet.  Part of me wanted the crazy spiced rub and the other wanted that, and some tangy sauce.  I couldn't decide, so I went 50/50.  

Short Ribs and Sauce

They turned out great.  Although I love the flavors when I go Korean, a straight up smoked short rib is really something to behold.  Sauced, or not sauced, they are great for dinner.  Oh, and if you can find, or make, some Ethiopian inspired rub, do it.  I loved it.  

So, how do you like your short ribs?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tenacious Traveler

A few months ago a Curious Traveler showed up on my front porch.  This curious bloke was refreshing and fun.  He also came with a fake mustache.  Although the fun is nice, I'm a sucker for fake facial hair.

As a follow-up to their initial offering, the House of Shandy has launched the Tenacious Traveler.  Just as his forebear, the Tenacious Traveler showed up on my front porch.  Score.  I hustled him inside.  With the front door closed, I pulled the traveler into a lit room to size him up.  This traveler…was different.  Intriguing.  More importantly, he was armed with those faux mustaches.  Again, I'm a sucker.  I readied him a spot in the fridge.

Tenacious Traveler

 Although the dedicated, Tenacious, shares a lot with his brother, Curious, the big T is even more to my liking.  

Any of the shandys are a hot-weather-I-just-cut-the-grass-damn-it's-hot-out-here-I-need-a-beer, beer.  In the end, I suppose I like the Tenacious a bit more than Curious because of the fresh ginger and its spice profile.  On the finish, I found a bit of spice which lingered.  In essence it told me, drink more.  Genius.

The Travelers still have limited US availability, which is too bad.  Perhaps by next summer it will be better.  I have a lot of hot grass cutting days ahead and it would be nice to finish them with a decent shandy, versus a lot of the lesser varieties that flood the market.  

In the meantime, I want to express just how much I enjoy the mustaches.  It must be simple mind…and lack of hair.

InteretsedFrumpyThe EarsThat GuyDistantSkepticalQuizicalLoving

Note: The Tenacious Traveler showed up on my doorstep thanks to the good people at House of Shandy.  It's not every day I have so much fun with a parcel.

Monday, September 17, 2012

weber_cam

The most unforeseen side benefit of this blog has been its bridge to new friendships.  In fact, when I first started APP six years ago, it was to keep in touch with people I already knew.  I had no idea APP would one day build a road to strangers.

Every time I make the real life acquaintance of someone I only previously knew through the written word or well composed picture, my life gets richer.  I have a long a number of friends still to meet.  The locations pass the Atlantic, the Pacific, and immigration officers in several countries.  As time goes on, the list grows.

Last week the list dropped a name and it's sad it took so long, as I only had to drive an hour to make it happen.  

While spending the week in Columbus for work, I finally had the chance to meet Dave from weber_cam.  Several years ago I stumbled across Dave's blog documenting what he called the Firedome, a converted Weber kettle turned pizza oven.  I've watched the Firedome go through several permeations.  At each step, I've been amazed at his measured and scientific approach.  After all, Dave is a scientist by trade, so the excruciating detail and systematic approach he takes to everything is praise worthy and to him, natural.  I wish I was as structured, orderly, and one quarter as smart.  

Did I also mention Dave stared in a Weber commercial?

Whereas several years ago, an invitation to meet one of my "Internet Friends" would have been met with jokes and skepticism.  Now, the opportunity presented to Brian, my co-worker, was met with glee.  After all, we were meeting one of my "food blogging friends".  Brian likes to eat.

Our get together with Dave, Trish, and Frankie, was absolutely wonderful.  They took incredible care of us.  Not only did Dave have the Firedome fired up (BTW, sorry for the craptastic photos.  I was operating totally off the iPhone.  It doesn't always know focus and it certainly doesn't know white balance when flame is involved),

Burn

but he had a complete pizza assembly line ready for action.

Fixings

Dave's ability to work yeast, flour, and water is second to none.  I still go to his YouTube videos for advice.

Did I mention Dave was precise?  Yes, that is an IR thermometer in the foreground.

Temp

The Firedome was in full pizza making operation.  I believe he mentioned the interior temperature was over 900 F.


Firedome

Dave's pizzas were insane.  The dough slides right off the peel.  I am never so lucky, but then again when Dave is working the dome, luck has nothing to do with it.

Prep

Mmmmh, pizza.  I forgot how many I ate.

Pizza

Imagine a light smokey crust, with a little bit of char, and a smorgasbord of toppings.  Close your eyes.  You now have a pretty good idea of how dinner went.  Hungry?  I am, and dinner was about an hour ago.

I am thankful to have, at last, met Dave (and Trish and Frankie, too!).  He was the consummate host and for a couple of "out of town" guys, provided a much needed break from forgetful dinners.  The food was insanely good and the company was stellar.  In October, I hope to make it a twofer.  I'll be back in Columbus again and besides seeing Dave, I will also get to meet his partner in crime, Andrew, from Slim Pickins Pork.  I can't wait.  

Mike and Dave

Life is great.  I just never knew this blog would make it sweet and savory, too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Relatively Wordless Wednesday

It's Anniversary time again.  Although previous years have produced some amazing beers, the 16th is  good, but not one of my favorites.  The nose starts out with some floral hops, but the taste is more earthy and spicy, with bits of lemon and a full blown hopped up finish.  Again, good, but not great.

Stone's 16th Anniversary IPA

Sunday, September 09, 2012

What's on the Grill #253: Sausage and Beef Skewers with Chimichurri

Grilling with a skewer is great in terms of presentation and simplicity.  It's a meal on a stick.  A little bit of prep, a little bit of effort, and a whole lot of enjoyment.

Although chicken and beef are the often "go to" skewer staples, I stumbled on a recipe that called for sausage.  I was intrigued.  I can't believe I had never thought of it before.  

Skewers on the Grill

The recipe calls for cooked sausage, as raw sausage would take longer to cook on the skewer.  I suppose you could cook the sausage separately and than add it on, but the high grill heat would also create a ton of flareups with dripping sausage fat.  Cooked sausage, in this application, works really well.

Sausage and Beef Skewers
Adapted from Weber's Time to Grill 

1 pound top sirloin, cut into 1 inch cubes, remove excess fat
1 pound cooked sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces (I used kielbasa, the recipe called for chorizo, but you can use anything)

Chimichurri

1 cup firmly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 medium cloves garlic
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbls white wine vinegar
1 tbls water
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

Place the garlic and parsley into a food processor and pulse until chopped.  Run the machine and slowly stream in the olive oil, white wine vinegar, and water.  Season with the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Scoop half of the chimichurri from the food processor into a small bowl.  The chimichurri in the bowl should be set aside for serving with the cooked skewers.

Prep the grill for direct high heat.  Season the meat with salt and pepper and then thread the meat and sausage alternately onto the skewers.

Prepped Kabobs

I used metal skewers, but wood skewers will work too, just be sure to soak them in water about an hour before grilling.    

With the skewers loaded, brush the outside with the chimichurri leftover in the food processor.

Grill.

Skewers with Flame

Since the sausage is already cooked, we are just concerned with the meat.  Figure about 5-6 minutes total, turning several times during the cook.

Grilled Skewers

Once done, remove from the grill and serve with the set aside chimichurri.  

Beef and Sausage Skewers with Chimichurri

It's safe to say, sausage is going to get heavy rotation in my upcoming skewer meals.  What have you skewered lately?

Thursday, September 06, 2012

What's on the Grill #252: Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

How do you get a finicky eater to eat vegetables?  Simple, stuff them full of pork fat.  Although I love zucchini, I'm fairly confident I could woo over a zucchini-phobe.  Dad, I'm talking to you.

With harvest season approaching, zucchini are in abundance.  So, when you are tired of grilling, sautéing, or steaming zucchini, stuff them.  Grilling food in boats, pockets, or vessels is easy and always good…even for finicky eaters.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini with Roasted Red Pepper Puree
Adapted from Weber's Time to Grill 

Puree

1 pound of tomatoes
1 small onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 small bell peppers, 1 red and 1 yellow
2 tbls basil, finely chopped
2 tbls oregano, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tbls red wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 medium zucchini, each one cut in half lengthwise
1 pound bulk sausage
1 cup Romano cheese
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

Prep the grill for indirect medium.

Vegetable on Board

Grill the tomatoes, onions, and peppers until the tomatoes and onions are soft and the peppers are blackened.  Turn the vegetables every few minutes to ensure even cooking.  The tomatoes and onions will be done first, followed by the peppers.  When the peppers are done, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  This allows the peppers to steam and makes the burnt skin easier to remove.

Once all of the vegetables have cooled enough to handle, remove the skin and cut the stems from the tomatoes.  Peel, core, and seed the peppers.  Add the tomatoes, onions, and peppers to a food processor, along with the basil, oregano, garlic, vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Pulse the mixture until relatively smooth.  Next, with the processor running, slowly add the olive oil.

Mixed Veg

Place the pureed mixture in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Warm until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Sliced Zucchini

Place the zucchini on a board, cut side up.  Take a knife and cut the the flesh about 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the end of the skin, along the top side of the zucchini.

Cutting Zucchini

Next, scoop out the flesh, being careful not to "scoop" although the way through the bottom of the vegetable.

Scooping out Zucchini

When done, you should have zucchini "boats" with roughly uniform thick walls.  Pitch, or repurpose, the extruded zucchini.

In a medium bowl, mix together the sausage, cheese, bread crumbs, and 1/2 cup of the puree.  

Sausage Prep

Once incorporated, divide the mixture between the zucchini boats.

Zucchini Boats Ready for the Grill

Take the loaded boats outside and grill over direct medium heat until the sausage is cooked, about 15 minus, or 165 F.

Grilled Zuchinni

Once finished, serve with the remaining puree.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

There you have it.  The next time someone holds their nose up at zucchini, grab some sausage and get grilling.  Your vegetable challenged dinner guest will never doubt the boat filling power of pork fat again!

What's the last thing you "stuffed" or "filled" on the grill? Any favorites?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Relatively Wordless Wednesday

A couple new things in today's RWW.  First, a spice I've heard of, but have never had: Piri Piri.

Piri Piri

Piri Piri is essentially an African chili pepper and is fairly difficult to find in the US.  It is quite hot.  Thankfully none of it found its way into my eye.

I used it on something I have never grilled before: a filet of ribeye.  A ribeye filet is really just a ribeye with all of the fat removed.  

Filet of Ribeye

Although it was good, I love my fat.  I want to almost call this a budget cut.  It's fairly inexpensive, looks like a filet, but lacks the flavor of a full ribeye or the richness of a proper tenderloin filet.  Tasty, but in the end I think I will stick to the real deals.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

New Zealand Beer Invasion

Sometimes you have those days...

Happenstance

noun\ˈha-pən-ˌstan(t)s, a circumstance especially that is due to chance 

A few weeks ago I headed down to Brewtensils to pick up supplies for our last brew day.  For the record, a trip to Brewtensils requires a trip to its sister store, Belmont Party Supply.  Belmont is easily the premiere store for craft beer in the Dayton area.  You cannot drive to one, without frequenting the other.

So, as I passed through the aisles of Belmont, I had about wrapped up my selections until, out of the corner of my eye, I spied 8 Wired's The Sultan. It was just outside my peripheral vision, but the unmistakable label tripped something in my frontal lobe.  

As I rounded the corner and took in the familiar lavender label, my gaze drifted more.  Situated next to it were two more bottles.  Although the labels were different, the 8 Wired logo was not.  Except the fourth bottle.  Instead of 8 Wired, it screamed Epic, and not of Utah, but of New Zealand.  Amazingly, I inadvertently stumbled onto the largest collection of New Zealand beer I had ever seen and yes, I understand it was only four bottles, but I'm 8300 miles away.  

I was thrilled.

New Zealand Beer Invasion

My excitement of New Zealand beer comes exclusively through my "Crafternoon" friends in Christchurch.  So, as I jump on Twitter to share my find, Tim & Simon respond, by happenstance, from the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards dinner.  

Epic Beer

Yes, while I was in the US enjoying the best NZ has to offer, the guys were halfway around the world at an award ceremony for the best NZ has to offer.  In the words of Simon, "freaky!"

8 Wired Batch 31

When the guys aren't building bikes, drinking beer, or lighting the BBQ, they are part of the design firm, Deflux.  Simon is the man behind our incredible Backyard Brewing Society Logo, as well as the awesome 8 Wired Batch 31 logo above.

At this year's guild awards, Deflux was up for best packaging for The Yeastie Boys Digital IPA (Soon to be available in the US).  If you can't tell by this picture, straight from the Guild Awards, they won gold.  That's Simon hoisted on high.

Armageddon IPA

While the guys had a great night of celebration, I had a great couple nights tasting New Zealand beer.   All three styles were excellent.  In fact, my enjoyment of them only makes me want to visit New Zealand just that much more.  It will be a great day when I can share an actual beer with the guys, versus the virtual pints we vicariously share through Instagram and Twitter.

Saison Sauvin

Until that day arrives, I'm going to try and land some more Batch 31.  Of all three beers I tried, four if you add the Sultan, Batch 31 is pretty amazing and easily rises to the top.  It's everything an Imperial Stout should be.  According Søren Eriksen, 8 Wired's Brewmaster, Batch 31 was made especially for the US, after the initial success of NZ only Batch 18.  Here's hoping I can rely less on happenstance and more on good planning to find more.