Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tailgating Prep: Patriots vs Bills

Tomorrow Matt and I are going to Foxboro to watch the Patriots make their record 3 and 0 at the expense of the Buffalo Bills. I'm pretty pumped because this is actually my first regular season game and I expect the atmosphere to be intense. The Bills haven't won a game this year and all signs are pointing to blow out, but it should be exciting regardless. The weather is going to be sunny and in the upper 70s, and the grilling is going to be epic.

We're going to try something new, since this is a 1pm game: breakfast on the grill. We expect to be at the stadium around 10am and firing up Matt's 22" Weber with a brand new griddle. I'm bringing pancake batter, eggs and home fries. We expect to spend another two hours grilling post-game, while we wait for the traffic to clear and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. A visual preview...

I never would have thought you could improve on my bacon jalapeno poppers. Well it turns out you can, to the tune of mixing chopped bacon and sharp cheddar into the cream cheese before stuffing them. I may die of cardiac arrest at 30, but at least I can say that I got to eat these.

Innovation

Poppers

Some boneless country pork ribs, rubbed and ready for the grill:

Boneless Ribs

Some Patriot's endorsed brats:

Patriot's Endorsed Beer Brats

And some buffalo chicken wings, because why not:

Chicken Wings

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Posted by Nat Tarbox. 3 comments

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day

I was reading the summer grilling issue of Cook's Illustrated today. I'm not sure if this is always the case, but it seems like with each recipe their goal was to improve on something that was commonly accepted at levels of mediocrity. For example, the section on fajitas pegged them as generally being bland chunks of chicken and peppers that required excessive condiment application to disguise their lack of flavor.

Marinade

I'd never thought about it that way: we always tend to enjoy the condiments as much as everything else. How can you go wrong with fresh guacamole, salsa and sour cream? I saw the author's point however. You should be able to do enough with chicken that it can stand on its own. The recipe in question was for a quick marinade, primarily lime, cilantro and jalapeno based, with a suggested marinade time of just 15 minutes.

Chicken Marinade

Veggies

To compliment this, we chose another recipe from the same issue for a dill cream cucumber sandwich. One interesting technique highlighted here was for maintaining the crunchyness of cucumbers. It involved putting a ziplock bag of water on top of the sliced cucumbers to help squeeze out the internal water. In addition the slices were tossed with salt which further drew out the internal moisture. The result was supposed to maintain the delicious crunch of
a freshly cut cucumber, even after being dressed.

Cilantro

Draining

As should be no surprise when working under the written instruction of Cooks Illustrated, both dishes turned out to be a success. The chicken was tender and flavorful, and each primary ingredient in the marinade was distinctly noticeable after grilling. The cucumbers were every bit as crunchy as expected, and the fresh dill and sour cream dressing was a refreshing compliment to the citrus spice of the fajitas. Even a quick tip on covering your tortillas with a dish towel after taking them off the grill made a huge difference, keeping the tortillas warm and supple instead of hardening once they come off the heat.

The Spread

Nom nom nom nom

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Posted by Nat Tarbox. 0 comments