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: 10:47 PM
Sat, 18 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: 12:22 AM
Fri, 10 July 2015
Rum and Honey Prawn Skewers
Category:grilling -- posted at: 8:43 PM
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: 9:42 PM
Fri, 3 July 2015
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Die-hard barbecue people don’t even like to consider this technique, which I sometimes call "cheater ribs" because it goes against all the principles and values of barbecue culture. These ribs may not be smoky, and they may not be quite as flavorful as true barbecued ribs, but they’re wonderfully tender, they taste great, and they don’t take all day to cook.
The original recipe calls for a coating of mustard and barbecue rub and a Kansas City-style finishing glaze, but this Greek treatment is unusual and delicious.
2 racks side or back ribs, trimmed by your butcher
For the rub:
1/2 tsp | 2 mL crushed chiles (optional)
1 jar mint jelly
Remove the membrane from the ribs if your butcher hasn’t already done it for you. Fill a large pot with cold water and completely submerge the ribs in the water. Add the onion, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Bring the water just to a boil. With a spoon or ladle, quickly skim off the soapy scum that forms on the top of the water and reduce the heat to low. Gently simmer the ribs for about 11/4 hours, or until the bones start to poke out of the meat. Take the ribs out of the water and cool them on a cooking sheet until they are easy to handle.
Prepare your grill for direct medium heat. Sprinkle the ribs on both sides with the rub and drizzle them with a light coating of olive oil.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 8:19 PM
Sat, 27 June 2015
Hey barbecue fans. I hope you enjoy this edition of the show. Here's a link to the recipes I talk about. Like Barbecue Secrets on Facebook and follow me on twitter. And if you haven't found me yet on iTunes, come here.
Fri, 26 June 2015
Drizzle them lightly with olive oil. Prepare your grill for direct medium heat.
Grill the steaks 4–6 minutes per side, or until they’re done the way you and your guests like them (I recommend taking the steak off the heat when the meat springs back slightly when poked, which is when it reaches an internal temperature of about 125˚F | 51˚C). Remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest, tented in foil, 4–5 minutes.
Make a little bed of arugula on each plate and put the steaks on top. Crumble a little oregano on each steak, drizzle it with olive oil, and season it with a little more salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish it with lemon wedges. The juice and oil from the steak and the squeeze of lemon will create a fabulous natural dressing for the slightly bitter arugula.
Combine the marinade/dressing ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly whisk them together. Divide the mixture in half, and set aside one half for finishing the dish.
Coat the steak with the remaining half of the mixture. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and marinate it for 2 hours or overnight.
Prepare your grill for high direct heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat it dry. Place the steak on the cooking grate and grill it on high for 30 seconds per side, just enough to get some nice grill marks on the meat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook it, turning it once or twice, for about 4–6 minutes per side, or until the thickest part of the steak has an internal temperature of 125°F | 52°C. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest, loosely tented in foil, for 5–10 minutes.
To serve the steak, carve it across the grain into thin slices and arrange the slices on plates. Sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper and spoon on some of the reserved dressing. Garnish with lemon wedges and herb sprigs.
Most barbecue cooks use meat thermometers to carefully monitor the internal temperature of big cuts of meat, but for most purposes, you can easily tell whether a steak or chicken breast is done simply by applying pressure to it with your forefinger. If the meat does not spring back, it’s still pretty raw. If it has a soft springiness, it’s medium rare and ready to take off the grill. If you press it and it feels firm and stiff, it’s overdone.
Here’s a great way to learn these hand readings. Hold your left hand in front of your chest, palm side down. Touch the meaty area between your thumb and forefinger. That’s what rare meat feels like. Now, extend your fingers so they are evenly spread out in the universal “stop right there” sign. Press the same place and you’ll find out what medium rare meat should feel like. Now make a fist and press again. That’s well done, and if your meat feels like this you should make use of the fist you just made and punch yourself in the forehead.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 11:59 PM
Sat, 20 June 2015
I'm back with a new podcast! For some reason unknown to me, in the last couple of weeks the number of Barbecue Secrets listeners has jumped from about 40 to over 600 a day. Not sure what's going on, but I figure if there's that much interest in the show I'd better start producing some new episodes. I hope you like this one, and I'm looking forward to making more.
For all you CKNW listeners, here are your recipes for this week. Enjoy!
As soon as we get unpacked and set up at a picnic table, we like to put out an array of simple but delish appetizers. Obvious choices are a nice variety of stinky cheeses, cold cuts, pate and crackers, olives, fresh pita and hummus, sliced long English cucumber, cherry tomatoes, pickled herring and so on.
Grilled Fresh Smelt
This works best with smelt that have just been caught, but you could thaw frozen smelt and do the same thing. If you’re squeamish you can gut and behead the fish before grilling but, in my opinion, why do all that fussing and make a mess when they taste great whole?
Makes a great beach picnic appetizer for 4
8 or more fresh raw whole smelt
Sea salt (Fleur de Sel or Malden Salt would work best, but Kosher Salt would also work fine)
Pre-heat a portable grill for medium-direct cooking (I prefer The Cobb or a Weber Smoky Joe, but you can also use a hibachi or portable gas grill). Wipe the smelt with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Sprinkle them with the sea salt and immediately place them on the cooking grate (the fresh coating of salt should help prevent them from sticking to the grate, but if you’re worried about stickage lightly drizzle them with oil before you put them on the grill). If your cooker has a lid, leave it off.
Carefully tend the smelt, turning them regularly, until they are slightly charred and a have a light golden colour. Remove them from the grill and eat immediately while they still have a crisp crust. Eat them whole – I know it sounds gross, but the crunchy head is the best part when it’s fresh from the fire.
Grilled Salmon with Teriyaki Sauce and Fresh Mango and Jalapeno Salsa
Makes 4 servings
I like to make my own Teryaki sauce (see recipe below) but the bottled variety is also very good. To keep things very simple, and still delish, you can substitute teriyaki sauce with good quality Japanese soy sauce.
For the salmon:
4 8-10 oz | 250-300 g pieces of boneless wild salmon fillets, skin on
1 cup teriyaki sauce
For the salsa:
1 ripe fresh mango, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher or sea salt to taste
Prepare the salsa by combining all the ingredients.
Marinate the salmon pieces in the teriyaki sauce for no more than an hour. I like to bring a big Ziploc bag to the beach and marinate the salmon on the spot. If you soak them in the sauce too long they get too salty and it masks the delicious taste of the salmon.
Prepare your portable grill for medium direct cooking. Place the salmon pieces, skin-side down, on the cooking grate and cover the grill. When the salmon is done (internal temp of about 130F or springy to the touch), remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving with the mango salsa and the rice salad on the side.
Rice, Asparagus, and Cucumber Salad
Makes 8 servings (so you’ll have enough for leftovers the next day)
This is a slight adaptation of a recipe from a 1994 Bon Appétit magazine. The salad tastes like summer itself and it’s one of our go-to beach picnic standards. You cannot make it once without making it again and again.
1 3/4 cups | 425 mL water
1 cup | 250 mL long-grain white rice
1 pound | 500 g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch | 2.5 cm pieces
11/2 cups | 375 mL long English cucumber, chopped into 1/4-inch | 5 mm dice
1/2 cup | 125 mL chopped chives
2 Tbsp | 25 mL Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp | 15 mL honey
1 Tbsp | 15 mL white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp | 2 mL dry mustard
21/2 Tbsp | 40 mL vegetable oil
1/4 cup | 50 mL chopped fresh dill
1 tsp | 5 mL finely minced lemon zest
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
large, intact leaves of green leaf or butter lettuce
dill sprigs, for garnish
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the rice and return the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook it for about 20 minutes. Place the rice in a bowl, fluff it with a fork, and let it cool to room temperature.
Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 1–2 minutes, just until it’s bright green and still slightly crisp. Plunge the asparagus into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain it and pat it dry. Add the asparagus, cucumber, and chives to the rice.
Combine the Dijon mustard, honey, vinegar, and dry mustard in a small bowl. Gradually mix in the oil and then mix in the dill and lemon zest. Mix the dressing with the salad mixture. Season the salad with salt and pepper. Line a large bowl with lettuce and mound the salad in the bowl. Garnish it with sprigs of dill.
The Perfect Beach Picnic Dessert: Black and Blue Berries with Lime Zest Confit
Makes 6–8 servings
This one’s inspired by a dessert from celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who had “Blueberries with Lime Sugar” on the menu at Les Halles restaurant in New York. It’s great with just blueberries, but Kate decided it would benefit from the addition of blackberries. The combination works beautifully and kids love it, too. Don’t forget to drink the juice!
For the lime zest confit:
1 cup | 250 mL water
1/2 cup | 125 mL sugar
For the berries:
3 Tbsp | 45 mL sugar
2 Tbsp | 25 mL lime juice
3/4 pint | 375 g fresh blueberries
3/4 pint | 375 g fresh blackberries
1/4 cup | 50 mL fresh mint, finely chopped
mint sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup | 125 mL crème fraîche or sour cream or enough vanilla ice cream for 6–8 (optional)
To make the confit, remove the peel from the limes with a paring knife, being sure not to include the white pith. Slice the peel into thin pieces. (It’s much easier to zest the limes if you use a zester, which is a wonderful tool for all kinds of reasons.)
Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the zest and reduce the heat so the mixture simmers. Loosely cover the pot and let the liquid cook until it has reduced by half. Remove it from the heat, cool it completely, and strain it (or not, if you aren’t averse to shreds of lime). You can store the confit in an airtight container and refrigerate it until you need it.
To finish the dish, combine the sugar with the lime juice in a large, presentable bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the berries and toss them well, coating all the berries with the mixture. Add the fresh mint and the lime zest confit and toss the berries well again. The mixture is even better after the flavors have had time to marry, so refrigerate the berries for an hour or more. Garnish them with more fresh mint and serve them with crème fraîche, sour cream, or vanilla ice cream, if you like.
BONUS RECIPE: Complicated but Delicious Teriyaki Sauce
Makes about 8 cups | 2 L
This homemade teriyaki sauce, which I have slightly adapted from an old recipe by famed Vancouver chef Trevor Hooper, has dimensions of flavor that make the extra work more than worthwhile. It stores for several months in the fridge, and it’s great as a marinade for meat or seafood, as a sauce for stir-fries, or just drizzled on steamed rice.
11/2 cups | 375 mL sake
11/2 cups | 375 mL mirin
2 cups | 500 mL brown sugar
4 cups | 1 L Japanese soy sauce
1/2 cup | 125 mL tamari soy sauce
1 small onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 2-inch | 5 cm piece fresh ginger, chopped
1 orange, chopped, skin on
1 small pear, chopped
1 small leek, split, washed thoroughly and chopped
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a low boil. Cook it until it’s reduced by about 20 percent. Cool it, strain it into a large jar or bottle, and refrigerate it. It stores indefinitely in the refrigerator.
Thu, 4 June 2015
Enoteca Smoked Duck Salad
Makes 8 servings as an appetizer or 4 main course servings
My wife, Kate, found this recipe many years ago in a 1990s collection of recipes from American bistros. Seattle’s Enoteca does not exist anymore, but as long as I barbecue, I will have this recipe in my repertoire. The original recipe calls for fresh papaya, which is excellent, but I like slightly tangier mango as the fruit component.
For the dressing
1/2 cup | 125 mL soy sauce
2/3 cup | 150 mL red wine vinegar
1/2 cup | 125 mL sugar
4 Tbsp | 60 mL vegetable oil
4 Tbsp | 60 mL rice wine vinegar
4 Tbsp | 60 mL raspberry vinegar
1 Tbsp | 15 mL lime juice
For the salad
1 pound smoked duck or smoked chicken
2 whole fresh mangoes
2 bags fresh baby spinach,
washed and dried well
1/2 small purple onion, diced
freshly ground pepper
1 cup | 250 mL toasted walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
1 lime, quartered, for garnish
To prepare the dressing, bring the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and let the dressing cool. This makes enough dressing for 4 salads, but it keeps for at least a few weeks in the refrigerator.
Cut the smoked duck into bite-sized pieces. (If you are using duck that is frozen, thaw it first, heat it up in a 350˚F | 180˚C oven, then let it rest until it’s cool enough to handle.) Peel the mangoes and slice the flesh off the pits; reserve a few slices for garnish. Place the spinach, duck, mango, and onion in a salad bowl. Grind the pepper over the mixture and squeeze the juice of the lime over it. Add the nuts and just enough dressing to coat and toss. (Too much dressing drowns out the other salad fixings.) Garnish the salad with the lime quarters and the reserved mango slices.
Grilled Scallop and Cucumber Salad
Makes 6 servings
This recipe comes from Jenni Neidhart, a Calgary caterer I’ve had the pleasure of working with on occasion. It calls for Lebanese cucumbers (small, tender-skinned versions of long English cukes) as well as something called vanilla vinegar. What the heck is that, you ask? So did I. It’s champagne vinegar (which is available in gourmet food stores) infused with leftover vanilla pods for a month or more. So, when you cook any recipes from this book that call for vanilla beans, save the pods to make the vinegar in this recipe. Of course, the salad also tastes great with “plain old” champagne vinegar, or my favorite, Japanese rice vinegar.
TIP: If you can’t find large scallops or if they’re too expensive, get smaller ones and use a grill topper or veggie basket so they won’t slip through your cooking grates.
4 Lebanese cucumbers (or 1 small long English cucumber),
finely diced (leave the skin on)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced
vanilla vinegar (or your favourite mild white vinegar)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup | 50 mL fresh mint, finely chopped
12 large scallops
sesame sea salt (optional; make it by combining sea salt and toasted sesame seeds in a mortar with a pestle or in a food processor)
Combine the cucumber, bell peppers, and onion in a medium-sized bowl. Make a vinaigrette by mixing the juice and zest of all the citrus, the jalapeño, a tiny bit of the olive oil, the vinegar, and the salt and pepper. Toss the vinaigrette with the diced vegetables, and mix in the mint. Easy as that! Chill it until serving time.
Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5–10 minutes, or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F | 260°C. Season the scallops with a little kosher salt, drizzle them with olive oil, and place them on the grill, keeping the heat on medium-high. Cover the grill and cook the scallops for 1 or 2 minutes, then turn them and cook them for another couple of minutes, until the scallops are springy to the touch.
Serve the scallops hot over the chilled cucumber salad and finish the dish with a few drops of olive oil and a light sprinkle of sesame sea salt, if desired.
(Photo by the incomparable John Sinal. Copyright John Sinal Photography, used with permission.)
Category:grilling -- posted at: 11:33 PM
Fri, 29 May 2015
Planked Asparagus and Prosciutto Bundles
Makes 6 servings
This classic combination of flavors takes well to the plank and works as an appetizer, a side, or on top of a salad. If you can’t find real imported fontina, use Parmigiano Reggiano shaved into slivers. You really don’t want a flavorless cheese here.
Note: if you want to do these on your grill without a plank, use medium-high indirect heat and lay down a sheet of aluminum foil on the cooking grate so you won’t lose any cheese while the bundles are cooking.
1 plank, soaked overnight or at least 1 hour
18 choice, thick asparagus spears
1/2 lb | 250 g Italian fontina cheese, cut into thin slices
6 large slices prosciutto
1 Tbsp | 15 mL butter
balsamic reduction (optional; see sidebar page xxx)
crusty bread as an accompaniment
Trim the asparagus and blanch it in salted water for just a minute or two, until it’s deep green and still firm. Stop the cooking by immersing the spears in cold water.
Set aside 12 slices of cheese. (Use the rest of the cheese to place on top of the rolls as described below.) Spread open a slice of prosciutto and place 3 spears of asparagus on it. Place one slice of the cheese between the spears. Wrap the prosciutto around the spears and cheese. Proceed until you have 6 bundles.
Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5–10 minutes, or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F | 260°C. Rinse the soaked plank and place it on the cooking grate. Cover the grill and heat the plank for 4–5 minutes, or until it starts to throw off a bit of smoke and crackles lightly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and place the bundles on the plank. Working quickly, place the remaining cheese slices over each bundle in a criss-cross pattern. Cook the bundles for 10–15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and a little mottled. Remove them from the grill, drizzle them with a little olive oil or brush them with the butter, and let them sit for a few minutes. Plate them individually with a few drops of balsamic reduction around the edges, if desired. Serve the bundles with crusty bread.
Grilled Parmesan Tomatoes
These tomatoes are simple to make and are a great accompaniment to your favorite steak.
Makes 8 portions
4 large ripe tomatoes
½ cup | 125 mL finely grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup | 60 mL finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp | 10 mL granulated onion
1 tsp | 10 mL granulated garlic
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 or 10 fresh basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil
Remove the stems of the tomatoes and slice them in half, cross-wise. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on a tray or baking dish. Season the cut faces with salt and pepper and sprinkle them with granulated onion and garlic. Mix the grated Parmesan and chopped parsley in a bowl and crumble it over the tomatoes.
Prepare your grill for medium direct cooking. Carefully place the tomatoes on the cooking grate and grill for 6–8 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to soften when you squeeze them and the Parmesan topping is golden brown.
Transfer the tomatoes to a serving platter. Roll the basil leaves into a cigar shape and cut them into fine strips with a sharp knife. Sprinkle the shredded basil over the tomatoes, along with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve the tomatoes immediately.
Photo credit: Rob Baas, used with permission
Category:grilling; plank cooking -- posted at: 4:24 PM