Thu, 30 June 2016
In recent years I've had the opportunity to visit Costa Rica and collaborate with chefs there as the country establishes itself on the international barbecue scene. Thanks to the hospitality of my new friends in Central America, I have truly fallen in love with Latin American cooking. Nary a week goes by without me making a batch of delicious empanadas, and I am constantly looking for ways to incorporate Latino flavours into my grilling/barbecue.
Case in point: for my birthday dinner last year, my lovely wife Kate Zimmerman made a super-delish Pork Shoulder with Salsa Verde, which she found on Epicurious.com. I have simply adapted the recipe for the smoker and slightly tweaked the ingredients list. If you don't have a smoker, this works great in the oven. However you cook it, it is amazingly delicious. Enjoy.
TIP: Celery leaves are hard to come by because in our society we value the stems, so most of the leaves are trimmed away from most bunches of celery before the get to supermarkets. I go to my local organic grocery store and ask the produce person to save the trimmings for me. If you can't get enough celery leaves, the salsa is just fine with parsley alone, or you could substitute cilantro, spinach or arugula.
Serves six to eight
NOTE: You will probably have lots of leftover salsa verde, which is a great condiment for anything else, or, mixed with mayo, is a fantastic dip.
For the Salsa Verde:
1 small tin of anchovy fillets
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped pickled capers (the small kind)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coursely chopped
2 bunches of flat leaf Italian parsley, stems removed
1 cup or more (if you can find enough) coarsely chopped celery leaves
Finely grated peel of one or two fresh lemons
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
A small squeeze (1 tsp) of Rogers Golden Syrup or corn syrup to balance the flavour (optional)
For the Pork Shoulder
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
4 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
4 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp Kosher salt or Fleur de Sel (French sea salt)
2 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 8-lb whole boneless or bone-in pork shoulder butt roast
In a blender or food processor, combine all the salsa ingredients and whiz until they are a smooth puree. Adjust the seasonings (add salt, pepper, lemon juice, pepper, or a bit of sweetness to make the salsa perfect.)
Prepare your smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature up to 200 - 220 F. (If you're using a gas grill, prepare the grill for low, indirect cooking, with the burners on one side of the grill on low-medium, and the other side turned off completely, with a water pan under the cooking grate.
In a nonreactive bowl, mix together the garlic, sage, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil, and rub the mixture all over the roast. When your smoker or grill is preheated, place the roast on the cooking grate and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 185F. On the smoker this will take at about 10 to 12 hours, and on your grill we're talking about six or seven hours. When the roast reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker/grill and let it rest, wrapped in foil, for at least 15 minutes but preferably an hour or more.
Slice the roast into half-inch chunks and serve, with the salsa verde on the side.
Category:barbecue -- posted at: 9:10pm PDT
Thu, 27 August 2015
BBQ Secrets Episode 23 - Canadian Jerk, Craziest Basting Brushes Ever, and Nudism, Rockin' Ronnie Style
In this episode I talk about building an authentic Jamaican-style jerk pit for this year's Brewery and the Beast in Vancouver, where I joined my friends from Johnston's Pork to serve up 14 delicious jerked pork bellies.
At the end of the episode I talk about an experience my wife Kate and I had a Jamaican resort a few years ago. Spoiler alert: contains nudism and vodka.
Direct download: BBQ_Secrets_Episode_23_Jamaican_Jerk_Crazy_Basting_Brushes_and_Nudism.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:56am PDT
Fri, 21 August 2015
Beef Burger with Chile Butter Core, Dressed with Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo and Guacamole
Makes 4 large burgers
Disclaimers: This isn’t a simple recipe and it involves quite a bit of prep work. The chile butter and mayo need to be made in advance, so a little planning is necessary. Stuffing a disc of flavored butter into the burger patties takes a little practice, but the result will blow your guests away. Be sure not to turn the burgers until they’ve started to get firm, and keep an eye out for flare-ups. Also please note: Warn your guests that the burgers have a molten filling or they could be in for a shock! In any case, have plenty of napkins at the ready. These are very juicy burgers.
For the chile butter:
1/2 lb | 250 g butter
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 Tbsp | 25 mL ancho chile powder
1 head roasted garlic (see recipe below)
1/2 tsp | 2 mL salt
For the guacamole:
2 large, ripe, but still firm avocados
2 ripe tomatoes
2 Tbsp | 25 mL lime or lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp | 25 mL chopped cilantro
3 tinned green chiles, rinsed, seeded, and chopped
1 finely minced jalapeño or serrano chile (optional)
For the burgers:
11/2 to 2 lb | 750 g to 1 kg ground beef,
(20 percent fat)
1/4 cup | 50 mL cold water
1/2 tsp | 2 mL garlic salt
1/2 tsp | 2 mL onion salt
1 Tbsp | 15 mL prepared mustard
Your favourite grilling rub
1/4 cup | 50 mL Margie’s Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo (see recipe below)
4 slices Jack cheese (optional)
4 hamburger buns
To make the chile butter, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend them together until they’re smooth. Transfer the butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a tube 11⁄2 inches | 4 cm in diameter. Twist the ends of the tube to close it, and place it in the freezer for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight. (It’s a good idea to make the mayo at the same time as you make the chile butter, as both improve when you let the flavors marry.)
The guacamole doesn’t keep well and should be made no more than an hour before you put the burgers on the grill. To make it, peel the avocados and remove the pits. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and avocados. (You can mash the avocados as much as you like, but I prefer
Combine the ground beef, water, garlic salt, and onion salt in a large nonreactive bowl. Mix the ingredients lightly with your hands, being careful not to overwork the beef. Split it into 4 equal portions and roll it into balls. Take the chile butter out of the freezer and slice off four 1⁄4-inch | 0.5 cm discs. Poke your thumb in the middle of each ball to create a hole and insert the disc of chile butter. Encase the butter in the burger as you shape it into a classic burger shape about 3⁄4-inch | 1.2 cm thick, ensuring that there are no openings where molten butter could run out. Set the rest of the chile butter aside to soften.
Coat the burger patties lightly with the mustard and sprinkle them with a light coating of granulated garlic, then a light coating of the rub.
Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5–10 minutes, or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F | 260°C. Place the burgers on the grill, close the cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook them for about 5 minutes, keeping an eye out for flare-ups. Turn them carefully, and cook them for another 5–8 minutes, or until the patties become firm, but not hard, to the touch. If you want to add cheese, place a slice on top of each patty about 2 minutes before you plan to take them off the grill.
Transfer the burgers from the grill to a serving plate. Tent the burgers with foil and let them rest for 2–3 minutes. In the meantime, coat the cut side of each half of the buns with some softened chile butter, sprinkle them with a little granulated garlic, and toast them for 30–60 seconds on the grill.
Dress the buns with a generous slather of chipotle mayo. Place the burgers on the buns and top each burger with a big dollop of guacamole. Cover the patties with the top half of the buns and serve.
Here’s a great kitchen staple that works well baked in the oven or planked on the grill. Roasted garlic is as versatile as it is delicious. Use it as a flavor enhancer in mayo, an enricher of mashed potatoes, and a flavor note in soups and sauces—or just spread it on a piece of toasted French bread.
Preheat the oven to 350°F | 175°C (or preheat your grill in preparation for plank-cooking). With a sharp knife, slice off the top of a garlic bulb, just enough to expose the tops of the cloves. Drizzle it with a little olive oil, season it with salt and pepper, and wrap the bulb tightly in foil. Place it in the oven, cut side up, and roast it for about an hour, or until the garlic is soft and lightly browned. Once it’s cool enough to handle, you can squeeze the head and the roasted garlic comes out like toothpaste.
Margie’s Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo
This invention of Calgary caterer Margie Gibb is particularly good as a dip for pieces of smoked or grilled sausage, but it’s also great on just about anything.
11/2 cups | 375 mL mayonnaise
1 whole head roasted garlic, cloves squeezed
out of their skins
1 tsp | 5 mL finely ground cumin (preferably made
from toasted cumin seeds)
1 Tbsp | 15 mL chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
(add more chipotle if you like it hot)
Whiz all of the above in a blender or food processor till smooth, then refrigerate. The flavour gets better after it's stored for even a few hours, but it's best if you make it the day before.
(Photo courtesy of the late, great Greg Athans)
Category:grilling -- posted at: 1:34pm PDT
Fri, 14 August 2015
With such a hot summer here in British Columbia, it's not surprising that there are concerns about eating raw oysters, which can cause illness when they've got high levels of a naturally occuring bacterium that thrives in warm waters.
As a gesture of good will to BC's oyster farmers, and a celbration of the delicious bivalves they produce, here are a couple of my favourite ways to grill oysters. If you can't eat 'em raw, eat 'em like this and support your local growers!
Grilled Oysters with Orange-Walnut Vinaigrette
Makes 4 – 6 appetizer-sized portions
My friend Kosta the fishmonger suggested this flavor combination to me, and when I tried it out I was astonished at how well the light, refreshing vinaigrette complemented the robust flavor of the grilled oysters.
3 Tbsp | 45 mL French toasted walnut oil
1 Tbsp | 15 mL rice vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 tsp | 5 mL finely grated orange zest
1 tsp | 15 mL maple syrup
1 pint | 500 mL container of large, fresh, shucked oysters
(about a dozen oysters)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
neutral-flavored oil like canola or corn oil
1 orange, cut into wedges
Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the walnut oil, vinegar, orange zest and maple syrup. Set the mixture aside.
Drain the oysters and pat them dry with paper towels. Put them on a baking sheet and set them aside.
Prepare your grill for direct high heat, making sure the cooking grate is thoroughly scraped. Season the oysters with salt and pepper and drizzle them with a light coating of oil. Just before you put the oysters on the hot grill, oil it using a paper towel dipped in some oil. Carefully place the oysters on the cooking grate, making sure they don’t fall through. Grill them for a couple of minutes per side or until the’re just cooked through and the outside edges are a bit charred. Transfer the oysters to serving plates, top with a drizzle of the vinaigrette and garnish with orange wedges.
Oysters Grilled in the Shell
Beach-grown West Coast oysters usually come pre-shucked in tubs, and they’re great smoked or grilled. If you can find them live, in their shells, it’s a huge treat. I’m lucky enough to have a friend, Eric Giesbrecht, who is chef/owner/oysterman of Meta4 Foods, a distributor of premium Canadian shellfish based in Calgary. I asked him to teach me the secrets of grilling oysters in the shell and I thank him for the following guide.
Verde - Use a fist full of fresh herbs pounded to a pulpy paste with a mortar and pestle, adding some nice olive oil, a clove of garlic, a minced shallot, the zest and juice of one lime (or lemon), some coarse sea salt, and black peppercorns. “Any delicate leafy herb will do,” says Eric, “but my favourite combo of late has been tarragon and mint. Kick this one out of the known galaxy by adding freshly grated Parmesan cheese.”
Compound butter - Mix ½ lb | 250 g of softened butter with 1-2 Tbsp | 15-30 mL of smoked paprika, a pinch of chili flakes, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 Tbsp | 15 mL of liquid honey, one clove of crushed garlic, and some chopped parsley for color.
Gratin – Eric likes to transfer the grilled oysters onto an oiled sheet pan, plane off slices of Gruyere, Comté, or Appenzeller cheese on top of the oysters and place the sheet pan back onto the grill. “Close the lid until the cheese is melted and unbearably sexy,” he says. “Top with sliced chives or scallions for contrasting garnish.”
Other sauce ideas: Garlic butter, hollandaise or béarnaise sauce, BBQ sauce and cheddar cheese, a simple squeeze of lemon and slop of olive oil, vegetable puree (such as one made from celery root, cauliflower, or turnip). “You can go many places with these—the cooked oyster is very friendly with many, many varieties of accompaniment,” says Eric. “Go for it.”
Category:grilling -- posted at: 3:24pm PDT
Fri, 7 August 2015
Many sport fishermen consider pink salmon to be the least desirable amongst the five species of BC wild salmon, but I love it, and so do some of Vancouver’s leading chefs. Not only is pink salmon delicious and nutritious, it’s a sustainable fishery.
One of the interesting things about pink salmon: unlike the other species, which have a four-year cycle, there are only two populations of pink salmon, and on odd years like this one, they return in the millions to spawn in Pacific Northwest rivers and streams. (Along with two BC chefs I’ll be cooking a whole bunch of pink salmon at this year’s Pink Salmon Festival at Vancouver's Hadden Park on Kit's Point on August 30th from noon to 4.00 p.m. and hope to see you there!)
Pinks are smaller than their cousins, with an average size of about four pounds or two kilos, so they’re usually sold as whole fish. That means the best way to grill them is to wrap them in foil.
The following simple technique (which originally appeared in my cookbook, Barbecue Secrets DELUXE! as a way of preparing trout) gives the salmon a subtle and delicate flavor and texture, and the orange adds a lovely flavor and aroma. Get the freshest possible fish—pinks are best soon after they’re caught!
Makes 4 servings
1 whole, cleaned 4 lb | 2 kg pink salmon
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 Tbsp | 45 mL butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp | 25 mL chopped fresh parsley
1/2 medium white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 oranges, one sliced into thin rounds, and the other sliced in half for squeezing
sprigs of parsley for garnish
Prepare your grill for medium direct heat. Tear off a strip of heavy-duty foil 21/2 times as long as the fish and double it. Spread 1 Tbsp | 15 mL of the butter evenly over the top surface of the foil. Distribute about a third of the onion slices on the foil, making a kind of bed for the salmon. Lightly season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper, and sprinkle it with chopped parsley. Place another third of the onion slices and half the orange slices inside the body cavity and the rest on top of the fish. Daub the remaining 2 Tbsp | 30 mL butter inside the fish and on top of the onion and orange slices. Squeeze half the remaining orange over everything and wrap the foil around the fish, sealing it tightly.
Place the foil package on the cooking grate, cover the grill, and cook the salmon for 10–15 minutes, or until the fish is just done (about 140 to 150˚F | 60 to 66˚C). You can poke a meat thermometer through the foil in the last few minutes of cooking to check for doneness. To serve, open up the foil, carefully transfer the fish to a warmed platter, and pour the juices left in the foil over the fish. Garnish the salmon with orange wedges and parsley sprigs, and finish it with a final squeeze of fresh orange.
[Photo of trout in foil copyright John Sinal Photography. Used with permission.]
Category:grilling -- posted at: 11:45am PDT
Fri, 31 July 2015
Makes 4–6 servings
Zinfandel is one of the best wines you can drink with grilled or barbecued food and California winemaker Ravenswood makes some of the tastiest, most popular zins around. Ravenswood’s Executive Chef, Eric Lee, was kind enough to share this rib recipe. This versatile rub/mop combination also works well with other cuts of pork, as well as beef and lamb.
Note: I’ve used my Real Barbecued Ribs technique for this recipe, but you can also do them Cheater Ribs style.
For the ribs:
2 racks of back ribs, trimmed by your butcher
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
1 tsp | 5 mL peppercorns
3 or 4 whole cloves
a couple of chunks of apple wood
For the rub:
1½ tsp | 12.5 mL dried oregano
1½ tsp | 12.5 mL dried thyme
¾ tsp | 4 mL fennel seed, toasted and ground
½ tsp | 2 mL cumin seed, toasted and ground
½ tsp | 2 mL mustard seed, toasted and ground
1½ tsp | 12.5 mL onion powder
2¼ tsp | 11 mL garlic powder
1/8 tsp | 0.5 mL ground ginger
¾ tsp | 4 mL ground black pepper
1 Tbsp | 15 mL kosher salt
1½ tsp | 12.5 mL paprika
¾ tsp | 4 mL chili powder
1/4 tsp | 1 mL cayenne
¼ tsp | 1 mL sugar
For the “mop”:
1/2 bottle | 375 mL Ravenswood Zinfandel wine
1 cup | 250 mL sparking apple cider
1 Tbsp | 15 mL molasses
1/8 cup | 30 mL olive oil
1/4 tsp | 1 mL ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp | 1 mL ground cloves
1/8 tsp | 0.5 mL ground cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp | 7.5 mL garlic powder
11/2 Tbsp | 22.5 mL kosher salt
1 bay leaf
1/8 cup | 30 mL dark Karo syrup
Combine the rub ingredients in a medium bowl and mix them together thoroughly. Set the rub aside.
Combine the mop ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer them for 15 minutes on medium low heat, uncovered.
Remove the membrane from the ribs if your butcher hasn’t already done it for you.
Prepare your smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature up to 200–220˚F | 95–100˚C.
Generously coat the ribs on both sides with the rub. Let the ribs sit for at least 15 minutes, or until the rub starts to draw moisture out of the meat and looks shiny.
Place the ribs on the cooking grate, or place them on a rib rack. Place a chunk of apple wood on the coals. Cook them for 5 or 6 hours, depending on the size of the ribs, mopping them about every half hour and adding another chunk of apple wood about an hour before the ribs are done.
Half an hour before the end of the cooking time, test the ribs for doneness. If they pass the pull test (the ribs pull away from one another easily but they’re not falling off the bone) give them one more coat of sauce, wrap them in foil, and return them to the cooker for another half hour or so.
Remove them from the cooker and let the wrapped ribs rest for 20–45 minutes. Unwrap them, cut them into single ribs, and serve them with your favorite accompaniments, including, of course, some Ravenswood Zinfandel!
Category:barbecue -- posted at: 2:32pm PDT
Fri, 24 July 2015
What is perfect jerk? Is it chicken or pork? Should the meat be marinated, or just rubbed? How hot should it be? Is it best smoked, grilled, or baked in an oven?
After many years of experimentation in my own kitchen I have come up with what I think is a pretty good approximation of the best jerk that my wife Kate and I tasted during the two times we visited the beautiful island of Jamaica. Usually I make jerk chicken, but lately I’ve been cooking jerk pork, and it’s super delish.
In the past I’ve made my own jerk marinade, but these days I just use a rub. Some might call it overkill, but I like to serve jerk with a rich, spicy gravy made with chicken broth and jarred jerk marinade.
I’m also including the perfect accompaniments to a jerk dinner, a spicy but refreshing slaw, and the classic Jamaican side dish, Rice and Beans (also known as Rice and Peas).
This recipe also works well with chicken or fish.
6 nice fatty pork loin chops or pork blade steaks
Prepare your grill for medium direct cooking. Sprinkle the chops with a generous coating of the rub and drizzle them with enough oil to make them shiny. When your grill is ready, place the pork on the cooking grate and cover the grill. Turn the chops every couple of minutes till they’re done (internal temp of 140F for medium). Let them rest, tented in foil, for at least five minutes. Serve the pork with slaw, rice and beans, and jerk gravy (see recipes below).
[Alternative method: cook the pork in a smoker using mesquite, or if you can get it, pimento wood, as a flavouring agent, and finish it on the grill. This technique works great with pork bellies, or you could even do a whole pork shoulder butt roast like this.]
Jamaican-style Dry Jerk Seasoning
4 cups |1 L chicken or beef broth
Place the chicken broth in a saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil. Reduce it by at least half. Add the jerk seasoning and soy sauce (or browning) and stir it into the broth.
Quickly mix the corn starch into the cold water and immediately pour it into the gravy, stirring constantly until it thickens and turns shiny. Season it to your liking and serve in a gravy boat.
Jamaican Cole Slaw
Category:grilling -- posted at: 3:47pm PDT
Fri, 17 July 2015
Rosemary and salmon are a classic combination. In this recipe, the honeyed balsamic vinaigrette and brown sugar intensify the flavor.
For the vinaigrette:
Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and mix them together thoroughly. Coat the salmon fillet with the vinaigrette and set it aside.
This incredible, tangy, sweet, rich syrup has a multitude of uses. It supercharges any vinaigrette. It’s great in marinades (or as a simple marinade on its own), and you can even drizzle it on ice cream or fruit.
Category:Plank Cooking -- posted at: 5:22pm PDT
Fri, 10 July 2015
Rum and Honey Prawn Skewers
Category:grilling -- posted at: 1:43pm PDT
Fri, 3 July 2015
Here's a link to the recipe I talked about for Greek-Style ribs.
Direct download: BBQ_Secrets_Podcast_episode_22_Greek_Style_Ribs.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:42pm PDT