Saturday, July 07, 2007

Fantastic Filet

For our final cookout in Provincetown, Cassie pick up a mutual favorite: thick cut filet mignon. I haven't cooked steaks in some time, and I was looking forward to applying some recently acquired knowledge around cooking fast and building up a crust. Its hard to throw off the "low and slow" mantra of the BBQ, but when it comes to steak cooking as fast as possible is the key to victory.

Burned


Cooking steaks indoors during the past winter, I had been working on the technique of pan searing with butter to build up a delicious crust and lock in as much flavor as possible. Working with this I whipped together some butter with cracked pepper and rubbed the outside of the steak with this. When the coals had just died down and were still glowing I put on the steak to cook for about 4 minutes per side. The butter and intense heat performed as expected, and the filet was deliciously crusted on the outside and incredibly flavorful on the inside. This was sort of a last minute unplanned cookout, and it ended up providing us with a main dish that certainly rivaled the careful preparation that went in the 4th of July ribs (could it have been the 7/7/07 luck?!)

Delicious Filet

Sadly missing form this photographic documentation is the delicious potato salad Cassie made, and some leftover kabobs form the Fourth.

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Posted by Nat Tarbox. 0 comments

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Turkey Burgers

Matt has been working on an interesting variation to the typical grill burger, and this Sunday he was gracious enough to share the work in progress with us prior to watching the season finale of the Sopranos. A turkey burger topped with a homemade salsa-esque chopped tomato sauce and freshly shredded mozzarella, I can verify that this bird burger has wings. Hopefully we can look forward to an official recipe post this week.

Matt adds some fresh mozzarella

Yum

Fresh corn on the cob, jalapeno poppers and some marinated steak tips rounded out the meal, and certainly left us feeling more satisfied than the conclusion to the Sopranos.

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Posted by Nat Tarbox. 0 comments

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day Session #1

As we headed into a glorious Memorial Day weekend Nat and I decided this was a prime opportunity to really get our grilling back on track. Waking up early Saturday morning, I though steaks would be a great place to start as we hadn't really done steaks to their fullest in some time. Well, it turned out that Nat had some steaks that had been marinading since 1987... This was a good sign of things to come.

We headed to the SUPER Stop & Shop around noon to gather further equipment. Bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers were the logical opening act as they cook fairly quickly and the spicy flavor fits nicely with a summer style cookout. For sides we went with chopped BBQ vegetables and boiled corn on the cobb. During our trek Nat stumbled across some glorious hickory wood chips, a prize we had been searching for in previous grilling sessions. Finally, we capped it off with a rack of fresh pork ribs which would take the hickory smoke perfectly.

Upon our return, first step was to prep all the food. With the steak marinading in the fridge, Nat mixed together a spicy rub for the pork ribs made with paprika, ground peppercorn, cayenne red pepper, sea salt and Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning blend. We chopped onion, potato, red pepper and green pepper into 1.5 inch pieces which we slathered in Jack Daniels original BBQ sauce and wrapped shut with tin foil. Lastly, we took the hickory woodchips and soaked them in water until it was time to start the insanity.

Matt tends the coals

We started the coals with about a gallon and a half of lighter fluid because A) I left the bag of charcoal outside for a week so the coals were damp from a rainstorm and B) someone in charge of my apartment building threw out my coal chimney stack because they couldn't identify the rusted mass for what it was. Once the fire finally started going we added the soaked hickory chips and placed an aluminum tray of Sierra Nevada ale next to the coals to flavor the food above.

The spread

We decided to slow cook the ribs so we could maximize the sun and get as much smokey flavor as possible. The bag of BBQ vegetables was placed on direct heat so we could get as much indirect surface area as possible for the jalapenos and the steak. Once everything was in place we covered the grill and me, Nat and my brother Kevin proceeded to make good use of Nat's new frisbee.

Success

The results of our grilling session were better than we could have ever anticipated. The jalapeno poppers were incredibly spicy, as Nat said he left the seeds in the jalapeno slices. We took Nat's marinaded steak off the grill at the absolute perfect moment and the BBQ vegetables were chock full o' flavor. After devouring the main event, we force-fed ourselves the slow cooked ribs and corn on the cobb. It's easy to forget the impact that wood chips can have on a meal and this grilling session was a helpful reminder. The bar has definitely been raised.

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Posted by Matt. 1 comments

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Wildcard Weekend

Heading into NFL wildcard weekend we were required by law to break out the trusty Weber 18.5 and get our grill on. As luck would have it, my legendary grandma, who perfected the art of clogging my arteries when I was in college, sent me a large care package from Omaha Steaks. It being a saturday and having no real responsibilities, Nat and I decided to devote the bulk of the afternoon to perfecting our feast.

After some careful deliberation prior to gameday, Nat and I agreed that we needed to incorporate smoking back into our routine. The last time we had successfully tracked down wood chips for smoking was August, during prime time grilling season. Since then our pitiful search attempts have yielded nothing. But today we made wood chips our holy grail.

The morning of gameday we drew up our battle plan and took an inventory. Nat would secure ribs, jalepenos to make our classic bacon wrapped poppers, and charcoal. After speaking with some woman at the Watertown Target who spoke Spanglish, I was informed that they did sell woodchips. My mission was to get the woodchips, disposable plates and deliver the care package of Sirloin.

As the day unraveled with were met with numerous unforseen challenges. Upon my arrival at Target I immediately noticed that there was not a single mesquite chip to be found. While securing the plates, Nat called me from the field to report that Star Market was completely out of charcoal and jalapenos. I grabbed some charcoal and headed to his house to do some damage control and begin preparations for the grilling.

When I arrived we discussed the wood chip predicament. We had an abundance of time before we had to being the actual slow cooking process for the ribs so Nat suggested we try another store. Home Depot informed him that they had mesquite chips for sale at reasonable prices. Admittedly, I was reluctant to make the trek. Every Masshole with a drivers license was on the road on this day and going to Home Depot involved driving through Brighton. Driving through Brighton on Saturday afternoon is the equivalent of driving my '96 Nissan through the Korean DMZ. Nat would hear none of it. We made the trek and secured the woodchips in record time.

With all equipment secured (with the exception of the Jalapenos) we proceeded to slow cook the ribs. With the slow cook process we could not utilize the Match Lite charcoal that had become a comfortable crutch for our deep freeze grilling. The temperature for the afternoon was hovering around 27 degrees which made the slow cook process particularly challenging. We cooked the ribs with indirect heat for approximately two and a half hours replacing coals periodically. We applied a handful of the soaked mesquite chips directly to the coals about every 45 minutes for sustained smoke saturation. Once the ribs were complete, we cooked the sirloin steaks over direct heat keeping a very close eye not to char the outside. Cassie was placed in charge of putting the stuffed bake potatoes in the oven.

The last of the steaks were being pulled from the fire as the first guests were arriving. The ribs were incredible and the smoking definitely paid off. The highlight of the feast, to our surprise, were the stuffed baked potatoes from Omaha. Our 8 man tag team finished off every last bit of food we had prepared and the Patriots delivered an incredible thrashing to the Jaguars.

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Posted by Matt Collins. 2 comments