Sunday, August 16, 2015
Sunday, July 19, 2015
The trucks are incredibly amazing and their grill specialists staff, second to none.
Originally focused on retail training, this year the teams have been teaching consumer classes, which, with a partnership with PopChips, brought them to Dayton area Kroger stores a few weeks ago.
Monday, March 16, 2015
As March inches its way towards April, our weather here in southwest Ohio has finally started to broach a level having nothing to do with snow or ice. I just hope it manages to hang on.
While grilling really is a 365 thing, I’m fairly confident stating winter grilling isn’t something I actually look forward to. Dressing for dinner shouldn’t be like preparing to race the Iditarod. Nonetheless, warmer weather for fewer clothes and more daylight for pictures is welcome.
Of course, this is not to say that come next winter, I won’t do it all again. When it comes to winter grilling, it’s a way of life. We all have our priorities.
Note: I made this video for Weber Grills and was compensated for its creation. Yes, not only am I crazy enough to grill in the winter, I want to spend more time outside filming it.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Every summer we host a small party for friends. It is great to get everyone together at the same time. The kids swim, the adults do mostly adult things (mostly with empahsis.) It is always a blast and thanks to nice weather, this year was equally, if not more, awesome than usual.
When I say I love a "multi-grill meal,” I know parties are the best time to make it happen. It’s nice to see the grills sitting on the deck uncovered. However, I like them more when all are being used simultaneously. It’s a party for me. It’s a party for them.
This year’s meats were brisket, baby back ribs, and Boston Butts for pulled pork. BBQ is one of the best foods to entertain with as a little goes a long way. I usually add in some chickens, but this year my goal was to work less and relax more. Chickens, while good, involve a little more work to carve up.
Speaking of relaxing, my other goal was to have most of the food ready prior to our friend’s arrival. For long cooks with the brisket or pork, I usually get up extra early to get them on and then most importantly, off on time. There is nothing as patiently waiting for the thermometer to hit 190 while the party start time creeps up twice as fast.
There was no way I planned on dragging my butt out of bed any earlier, so my solution was an overnight cook. While Zoë wandered off to bed, I grabbed a beer, some tunes, and prepped the WSM for a nighttime mission.
I followed my typical brisket prep with the rub consisting of 2 T sugar, 3 T salt, 3 T freshly ground black pepper, and a cross-hatched fat cap. For the pork, I made a rub, but it was on the fly, past midnight, and not written down…so sorry, no help there. I also added injections of Angry Orchard Cinnful cider…to the pork. It was late, but it wasn’t that late.
I locked the WSM temp in at 210 F versus more towards 250 since I knew I had a long time ahead of me till the party. With the WSM, and its load of cherry chunks doing its thing, I went to bed….
I slept great, although I woke up a tad early as my reoccurring dream of a cold grill was hard to shake. Usually my bladder wakes me up, so at least that wasn’t in play! In the end, I should have known I had nothing to worry about. The temperature gauge on the WSM hadn’t budged a bit.
As the morning went on, I added ribs to the 26-inch kettle. It is times like these, where I absolutely love the space and versatility of this grill. Kettles make great smokers. One note, I should have swapped the racks out. Notice how much more cooked the rack closest to the fire is?
The 26 makes for a ton of smoking space.
By the end of the day, I ended up with almost a 14 hour cook.
The brisket hit 190 F internal first and was wrapped in foil and moved to a cooler to rest. Soon after, the pork followed.
With the pork rested, and the start of the party still an hour off, I effortlessly removed the bone and proceeded to smash, then chop, the pork.
I sliced the brisket and chopped the ribs.
Keith put his BGE to work in the afternoon and brought over even more ribs which he sauced on a kettle.
The Samuel Adams Bacon Blue Cheese Dogs also made a comeback.
Brian, always one to jump in, grilled brats on the Summit.
The meat was ready to go, and so was the party.
Probably one of the biggest changes for this year’s party was the music. In the spring, we successfully bid on a performance by the Stiver’s School for the Arts Jazz Band.
These guys, all high school students, played the most amazing set.
While our neighborhood has its share of impromptu live outdoor music throughout the summer, I think this is the first time the tunes have been provided by a tight jazz quartet.
Golf carts could be seen driving down the side road of our house and stopping to take it all in.
As we opened the chow line, the guys hit their groove and provided the best party background music we could have asked for.
When they left, it just wasn’t the same.
Home-brews from me and Dave were bookends to Deschutes Inversion IPA and Samuel Adams Summer Ale along with a Pimms Cup, Sangria, and some crazy beer-liquor concoction "the other Dave” brought in a cooler. The only thing missing from it was the international symbol for poison.
The Lights Dim.
While the kids did their thing.
We helped celebrate Carla’s 40 birthday.
Welcome to the club, Carla!
It was wonderful, as always, to have the ability to celebrate the richness of life with so many of our wonderful friends. Even if Gary pulled something in his back and scowled from his chair most of the evening.
It has been another awesome year.
I expect next year will be even better. Now, where’s my jazz iTunes playlist….
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Most people probably consider my idea of a vacation a little warped. More often than not, I use my time off from work…to work. Crazy, I know. With that in mind, what do I call a week of sticky weather, long days, and hot grills? Simple, a work-cation.
Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to work with my friends at Weber on a photo shoot. My job was the same as it was in LA this past March: grill and food styling, while standing in as the occasional hand and foot “model.” It’s work, but it’s not.
Grilling eighteen meals across four ten hour days is not a solo endeavor, which is why I was thrilled to work with Jennie, who runs the Weber test kitchen and her own blog, appropriately titled, “Jennie’s Test Kitchen.”
While we had the food cornered, Chicago-based award winning photography Paul Elledge was tasked with capturing it all.
Not only was it a privilege to work with Paul, it was fun to just watch him work.
In fact, after watching his workflow, I feel obligated to add the word “hack” in front of the photography title on APP! It is really something else to watch a seasoned professional go through the motions. I learned a lot just as an observer.
We hammered out our “menu” ahead of time, which left day one for shopping. I can’t guess how much a hand basket of groceries will cost. Now spread out a four-digit grocery bill across two carts and I can nail it within $75. As we told the girl checking us out, we were hosting a small hors d'oeuvre party.
Our “grill-camp,” as we referred to it, was our home away from home minus, of course, an actual kitchen.
While we predominately used the Summit 670 and a Performer, additional kettles came and went depending on our grill schedule.
All of our locations were incredible. While sure, the homeowners were compensated for their time and use of their property, it still takes the right person to open up their home to an army of strangers and their driveway to a brigade of grills.
How do you get the talent to act like a family?
You hire a real family. This was all about realism.
Our goal from day one was all of the food be authentic and all of the food be edible. No movie magic. No special effects. Just real food.
We had ribs...
and more ribs.
In fact, Paul was in literal hog heaven as we sent a rack home with him 3 of the 4 shoot days.
We grilled satay.
Planked pork chops and salmon.
Of course, we made “the bananas."
Those were a given.
Don’t forget the spatchcock chickens.
Lots of pizzas.
Jennie is the grilled pizza queen. On the last day, we had extra ingredients, so she cranked out two more. The crew devoured them in record time. They are seriously out of this world.
I told Jennie my biggest challenge was keeping my dough round. “Fear not,” she told me, “The non-round pizzas are my rustic style.” Apparently it’s all in the name.
When I titled this post Guerrilla Grilling, I wasn’t kidding.
It’s not every day a chicken is moved to the ground due to a lack of space on the “kitchen counter top."
While the lack of a sink and running water might seem daunting, it really isn’t. A good plan, good organization, and alternating time at the “clean up tub” made the process run fairly smooth.
While we used the pop-up tent, it was thankfully less for rain cover than it was for sun shade. By the last day, it was hot-hot. I know I had a cloud of smelly funk around me that would hit you from at least 4 feet away.
Probably one of our biggest kicks was watching the talent eat. At several different points, even though the scene was over, the talent stuck around “on set” to eat. Several, often with food still in hand, swung by our grill station to thank us. THAT was a treat.
One family needed food to eat that was not part of the shot, as the loaded grill was the focus of the scene and the family and their meal was blurred out in the background. While we were pleased they loved their grilled salmon, it was actually the lunch supplied by craft services, not something we grilled. I believe someone gently let them in on “the secret.” The money shot was grilled filets and uh, we, of course, saved those for ourselves.
As I mentioned before, this is work, but it was not work. Everyone clicked so well, there was a palpable sense of disappointment that our time together was coming to an end. For me most certainly. It is not every day you get to grill, laugh, and learn.
Speaking of learning, we watched a lot of Paul’s shots back on the monitor when Jennie jokingly, unbeknownst to Paul, told him his entire screen had gone “blank!” He loved that…or at least I think that was the initial look on his face.
Paul's pictures were sensational. I can’t wait to see them later this year in their final form.
Thanks again to Brooke, Lexy, Deanna, Paul, Joyce, Elaine, Flynn, Travas, Jack, Ryan, Sam, Hannah, Joanne, Karina, Joanna, Clarissa and my Grill-panion, Jennie. I hope I mentioned everyone. It was an awesome week. I look forward to our next adventure.
Want to see this in “live action?” Here’s 4 days in 60 seconds.