Thu, 29 July 2010
In this second teaser for Barbecue Academy at the Banff Springs, I show you a great technique I've been working on -- sliders on the grill. It's a great way to feed a bunch of teenagers with minimum fuss!
Wed, 28 July 2010
One of my all-time favorites. I use this mainly as a quick and delicious marinade for beef steak, but it’s also great with pork chops or chicken, as well as rich, meaty fish like salmon, halibut, tuna, and swordfish. I’ve provided precise measurements of the ingredients, but it’s really meant to be a marinade that you just throw together. A few glugs of soy sauce, a small glug of sesame oil, as much garlic and ginger as you like, and so on. Once you try this, it will become a standard in your kitchen.
Makes about 11/2 cups | 375 mL, enough for 4 to 6 steaks
1 cup | 250 mL dark soy sauce
1 tsp | 5 mL toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely chopped or grated fresh ginger
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp | 15 mL lemon juice or 1/4 cup | 50 mL mirin
(Japanese sweet rice wine)
1 Tbsp | 15 mL tapioca starch (cornstarch will also do)
Mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, black pepper, lemon juice or mirin, and tapioca starch in a nonreactive baking dish. Add the meat or fish, turn it to coat it, and marinate it for 10 minutes to 1⁄2 hour, turning it once or twice. Don’t marinate it overnight, as this is fairly salty.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 10:07 PM
Thu, 22 July 2010
Grilled Pineapple with Caramel Sauce
Makes 6 servings
This easy and delicious summer recipe is the perfect end to a grilled dinner. For an extra-luxurious finish, serve with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream.
1 fresh pineapple
coarsely ground black pepper
caramel ice cream topping or Mexican cajeta sauce (available at most Latin specialty stores or gourmet food shops – get the kind in the squeeze bottle)
Prepare your grill for direct medium heat. Cut the top and bottom off the pineapple and stand it up on a cutting board. Cut it in half lengthwise, then in half again and again so you have 8 wedges. Remove the skin and the tough strip of pineapple core from each wedge. Sprinkle the wedges with a little salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Grill the pineapple strips for about 2-4 minutes per side, until they’re slightly charred. Warm the sauce in a microwave or double boiler. Drizzle the pineapple slices with the warmed sauce and serve.
NOTE: Some cajeta sauce comes in a glass jar, and it’s much thicker than the kind available in squeeze bottles. If you get the thicker kind, put it in a double boiler along with a splash of whipping cream. Heat gently and the sauce will thin enough so you can easily drizzle it on the pineapple.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 7:10 PM
Thu, 15 July 2010
Classic North Carolina Barbecued Pulled Pork Sandwiches
From Barbecue Secrets DELUXE!, Whitecap Books
Makes 18–24 servings
Note: this dish is meant to be cooked in a charcoal-fired smoker, but you can emulate real barbecue on your gas grill. See the instructions at the end of the recipe.
The concept here is to cook a pork shoulder butt roast (sometimes called a Boston butt) for many hours in a smoky chamber until it is literally falling apart. One test competitors use for doneness is that if the blade bone can easily be pulled out of the roast, the pork is ready to shred and serve. This is real barbecue the way we prepare it for competition, and the way it is eaten in the Southeastern states. You can substitute any good rub you have on hand if you don’t have time to make some from scratch, but fellow Butt Shredder Kathy Richardier’s Butt Rub is the best! This recipe calls for two butts because if you’re going to tend the smoker for such a long time, you might as well fill it up. Pork butt freezes very well, so if you’re not feeding a huge crowd, just serve one of the butts, wrap the other in an extra layer of foil, and freeze it for later use.
For Kathy’s Butt Rub:
1 Tbsp | 15 mL kosher salt
2 Tbsp | 25 mL sugar
2 Tbsp | 25 mL brown sugar
2 Tbsp | 25 mL cumin
2 Tbsp | 25 mL chili powder (like
Chimayo blend, New Mexico, or ancho)
2 Tbsp | 25 mL ground black pepper
up to 1 Tbsp | 15 mL cayenne
1/4 cup | 50 mL paprika
For the pulled pork sandwiches:
2 pork shoulder butt roasts, about
6 to 9 lb | 2.7 to 3 kg each, bone in
1 cup | 250 mL prepared mustard
1 Tbsp | 15 mL granulated garlic
apple juice/maple syrup/bourbon
blend in a spray bottle
(see Barbecue Secret below)
2 cups | 500 mL or more of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 cup | 250 mL North Carolina-style
Vinegar Sauce (see recipe below)
2 dozen fresh, fluffy white buns
Tidewater Coleslaw (see recipe below)
Combine the rub ingredients in a bowl and set the rub aside.
Slather the butts with the mustard, sprinkle them with the granulated garlic, and then coat them liberally with the rub. Let the rubbed butts sit for half an hour, until the meat’s juices make the rub look wet and shiny.
Prepare your smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature up to 200–220˚F | 95–100˚C. Line the drip pan of your smoker with a double layer of foil and fill it with apple juice. (If you want a more crispy crust on the butts, just line the drip pan and leave it dry.) Cook the butts for 11/2 to two hours per lb | 500 g (about 10–14 hours, or to an internal temperature of 185˚F | 85˚C), adding coals and chunks of hardwood as required. We use apple wood in competition.
About halfway through the cooking time, turn the butts and spray them with the apple juice mixture. Turn them over and spray them again at the 3/4 mark. Two hours before the butts are due to be ready, turn them over again and, with a basting brush, generously glaze them with barbecue sauce. At the same point, throw a couple of chunks of hardwood on the coals. An hour before the butts are due to be finished, turn and glaze them one more time and wrap them in a double coating of foil. One more hour in the smoker, then take them out. Let them rest for at least half an hour (in competition we’ll let our butts rest, wrapped in foil, then wrapped in a blanket and placed in an insulated cooler, for as many as four hours).
Take the butts out of the foil and place them in a large roasting pan or heavy duty roasting tray. Pull apart the pork, using two forks or your hands sheathed in rubber gloves, mixing the exterior crusty bits together with the tender, juicy white meat. Drizzle the shredded meat with the vinegar sauce and mix it in. (These days I use equal parts vinegar sauce and barbecue sauce – Ronnie.)
To serve, pile the shredded pork on the buns, drizzle it with some more vinegar sauce and/or some of your favorite barbecue sauce, and top it with the coleslaw for a big, juicy, crunchy, messy barbecue sandwich. Take one bite and you will know what real barbecue tastes like!
Variation: Cooking Barbecue on a Grill
Covered grill method: You can barbecue pork butts on your covered charcoal or gas grill. Follow the recipe above exactly, but use indirect low heat. Indirect heat means you put what you’re cooking on a part of the grill that has no heat under it. This is easier on a gas grill because to maintain low heat on a charcoal grill means you have to add coals every hour or two for a whole day. Use soaked wood chips or chunks wrapped in foil and poked with a fork to create a bit of smoke. It won’t be as smoky as barbecue made in the traditional style, but it’ll still be good! The one advantage of this technique is you can probably get by with a couple of hours less cooking time.
North Carolina-style Vinegar Sauce
Makes a little more than 1 cup | 250 mL
This is old-school barbecue sauce at its finest. Drizzle some of this into pulled pork just before serving to give it some classic heat and tang, or use it to baste pork butt.
1 cup | 250 mL white vinegar
1 cup | 250 mL cider vinegar
2 Tbsp | 15 mL brown sugar
1 Tbsp | 15 mL crushed dried red chile flakes
1 tsp | 5 mL Louisiana–style hot pepper sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients and stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. The sauce stores indefinitely in the fridge.
Makes 8–10 servings
My dear friend and fellow Butt Shredder Kathy Richardier discovered this slaw many years ago and I have substituted my favorite toasted cumin seeds for the celery seeds in the original recipe. This pungent, high-sugar slaw is best as a condiment, piled high on top of a pulled pork sandwich or burger, or on the side of a few slices of barbecued brisket.
11/2 cups | 375 mL mayonnaise
1/2 cup | 125 mL white vinegar
1/3 cup | 75 mL white sugar
1 Tbsp | 15 mL toasted cumin seeds
1 small head cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, peeled and finely grated
Whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and cumin together in a bowl. Toss it with the cabbage and carrots and refrigerate it. You can make this slaw a few hours ahead of time. Toss it just before serving to redistribute the dressing.
Spray your meat periodically to give it a sweet shine. Starting about halfway through the cooking time, spray chicken, ribs, brisket, or pork butt with a mixture of 2 parts apple juice, 1 part Jack Daniel’s, and 1 part maple syrup.
Photo copyright John Sinal from Barbecue Secrets DELUXE! All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Category:barbecue -- posted at: 6:47 PM
Wed, 14 July 2010
An old friend of mine wrote me the other day asking for some advice. He had decided to switch from beer to vodka, and didn't know where to start. Here's my advice to him, slightly revised and expanded. I initially posted this on Facebook, but my friend Rick doesn’t like information on the web that’s trapped inside a "walled garden" like FB.
So here you go, Ricky, and everyone else outside the garden.
[Disclaimer: Vodka is not good for everyone, and I can't guarantee the same positive results for other drinkers. Please drink responsibly.]
So you've decided to switch from beer to vodka. Congrats on making the healthy choice. I have existed on not much more than pork fat and vitamin V for the last 10 years or so, and it has reversed the aging process for me. Thanks to Brother Smirnoff I am now 34 years old.
But seriously, good vodka is much better for one's health than most alcoholic beverages because it is free of impurities. Unless one considers ethyl alcohol an impurity.
As for which brand of vodka I would recommend, it depends how you intend to drink it. If you are going to be mixing it with anything, then your best bets are brands like Skyye, Polar Ice or Alberta Pure, which pride themselves on purity and have such a neutral taste that they're almost undetectable in a mixed drink.
If you are going to drink it straight, or in a dry martini, that's another story, and everything depends on your personal taste. Some potato-based vodkas, like Chopin or Luksusowa, have a strong, oily flavour that brings to mind Orwell's Victory Gin. I don't like this style, but others do, and you might.
Classic Russian-style vodkas like Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya have a lovely smoothness, a slight sweetness and velvety feeling on your tongue.
Tito's Handmade Vodka, made in Texas, is excellent.
Some super-premium vodkas have truly sublime flavour. My favourites are Grey Goose and Wyborowa Exquisite. But they're very expensive and not worth the hefty premium except for very special occasions (like the arrival of Tuesday).
There are lots of organic vodkas out there these days. A lot of them are not very good. I have a theory that some "premium" organic vodkas are not much more than a way of automotive-grade ethanol producers to get some extra value out of their surplus production. But 360, Square One and Rain are quite nice. In fact, sometimes I find myself praying for Rain.
My everyday vodka (well, not quite every day) is Smirnoff red label. Clean, smooth, pure, and available at a decent price. Finlandia, Absolut, Ketel One, 42 Below, and Bols are in the same vein.
Ciroc is crap. Too sweet. Designed for the Crantini set.
Don’t trust a vodka in a super-fancy designer bottle. Same with gimmick packaging like Crystal Head. Cool bottle, lousy vodka. There are exceptions, though. NASCAR legend Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon Carolina Moonshine is excellent.
Conversly, what's with Russian Prince vodka? As my cousin Tommy points out, "who would buy vodka that comes in a shampoo bottle?"
The best way to drink vodka is in a shot glass, straight. The vodka should come right out of the freezer. I recommend bites of pickled herring or some good fatty slices of cured meat between shots. There's an old Polish phrase - "binoculars and jellyfish" which describes a classic way to drink vodka with a friend -- a bottle and two shot glasses (the binoculars) are placed on a bare kitchen table next to a plate full of quivering slices of pickled pig's feet (the jellyfish). Yum.
Second best way, for me anyway, is a vodka Martini, which isn't really a Martini the way I like it because it does not have any vermouth. The vodka is poured over ice cubes in a cocktail shaker, shaken and then strained into a chilled Martini glass. The glass needs to be flavoured with microsopic droplets of lemon oil from a slice of peel from a firm, fresh lemon that is twisted over the glass. Drop in the twist (if you want to be geeky, rub the yellow side of the peel around the inner rim of the glass), pour in the vodka from the shaker, and you have a perfect cocktail. Don't guzzle; this is a sipping drink, although you must drink it fairly quickly while it is still super cold.
Be careful. These beauties are strong and silent, and I would recommend no more than two to start off an evening. Although that kind of self control can be hard to achieve. James Thurber once quipped, "One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough."
And then there's the old Dorothy Parker poem:
I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table,
After four I'm under my host.
I'll leave you with this, from Roger Ebert, on his drinking days in NY:
"Above all we drank. It is not advisable, perhaps not possible, to spend very many evenings in a place like O’Rourke’s while drinking Cokes and club soda. Sometimes I attempted to cut back, by adopting drinks whose taste I hated (fernet branca) or those with low alcohol content (white wine and soda). Night after night I found these substitutes relaxed me enough to switch to scotch and soda. For a time I experimented with vodka and tonic. I asked Jay Kovar what he knew about vodka ‘as a drink’. He said: ‘Sooner or later, all the heavy hitters get to vodka.’"
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16 PM
Wed, 14 July 2010
AN AFTERNOON OF GREAT WINE AND FOOD WITH
THE GODFATHER OF ZIN & CANADA'S BARBECUE EVANGELIST
Joel Peterson -Winemaker and Founder of Ravenswood
Rockin' Ronnie Shewchuk -Author of Barbecue Secrets DELUXE!
July 30, 2010
Award-winning winemaker Joel Peterson and barbecue champion Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuk pair up like Ravenswood Zinfandel and a perfectly grilled steak. For the last four decades Joel has been an acknowledged leader in California Wine – an articulate spokesperson and stylistic trendsetter who helped make Zinfandel the runaway phenomenon that it is today. Ronnie is a bestselling cookbook author and a true barbecue pioneer. As chief cook of the Butt Shredders, he led the first Canadian team to win a U.S. barbecue championship and Food & Wine Magazine has named him one of America’s greatest grillers. Both men share a love of great wine and delicious food, and both are known for their down-to earth personalities and entertaining storytelling. Put them on Dusty’s patio with a fine selection of Joel’s Ravenswood wines paired with Ronnie’s smokin’ dishes and there’s bound to be some sizzle!
DATE: Friday, July 30 (the day before the National BBQ Championships)
TIME: 1:30pm - 3:30pm
WHERE: Dusty's Bar & BBQ, Creekside
HOW: Tickets $10 (yes, only $10!) at Dusty's - Limited Availability. Call 604-905-2171
This will be a casual, interactive and undoubtedly entertaining afternoon with two legendary storytellers matched with great wine and BBQ – get your tickets early! Sip, Laugh, Eat, Win a Door Prize - what more can you ask for a Friday afternoon?
Category:barbecue -- posted at: 10:37 PM
Thu, 8 July 2010
Ronnie’s Rich, Deeply Satisfying Dipping Sauce
(With acknowledgments to the Baron of Barbecue, Paul Kirk)
Makes about 6 cups | 1.5 L
Any student of barbecue has to bow in the direction of Kansas City once in a while, and Paul Kirk is one of the world’s greatest barbecue cooks and also perhaps its best-known ambassador. Paul has taught thousands of cooks the essentials of barbecue, and this rich, sweet, tangy sauce is based on his Kansas City classic.
2 Tbsp | 25 mL powdered ancho, poblano or New Mexico chiles
1 Tbsp | 15 mL ground black pepper
1 Tbsp | 15 mL dry mustard
1 tsp | 5 mL ground coriander
1 tsp | 5 mL ground allspice
1/4 tsp | 1 mL ground cloves
1/2 tsp | 2 mL grated nutmeg
up to 1 tsp | 5 mL cayenne, according to your taste
1/4 cup | 50 mL neutral-flavored oil, such as canola
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup | 125 mL tightly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup | 250 mL white vinegar
1/2 cup | 125 mL clover honey
1/4 cup | 50 mL Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
or a combination
1 tsp | 5 mL liquid smoke or hickory smoked salt (optional)
1 32 oz. | 1-L keg ketchup
Mix all the spices together and set the mixture aside. Heat the oil in a big pot over medium heat and gently sauté the onion, garlic, and shallot until tender. Add the spices and mix the ingredients together thoroughly, cooking the mixture for 2 or 3 minutes to bring out their flavors.
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer the mixture for 30 minutes, stirring often (be careful, it spatters). Don’t cook it too long or it will start to caramelize and you’ll have spicy fudge. If you want a very smooth sauce, blend it with a hand blender or food processor. Refrigerate it or preserve it as you would a jam or jelly in mason jars. Use the sauce as a glaze or dip for barbecued meats, as a flavoring sauce in fajitas, or mix it half-and-half with mayo for a fabulous dip for French fries.
Note: This thick sauce is designed for dipping. If you want to use it as a basting sauce or a glaze, thin it with water, apple juice, or Jack Daniel’s to suit your taste and the task at hand.
Use sauce sparingly when grilling, planking, or barbecuing meat. In competition we use it only as a finishing glaze. If you baste meat with a sugary sauce more than an hour before you take it off the smoker or more than a few minutes before removing it from the grill, it will turn black when the sugar caramelizes from the heat. Also use sauce sparingly when you serve, offering it to guests on the side. Too much sauce and you lose the barbecue flavor you’ve worked so hard to achieve!
Category:grilling -- posted at: 10:40 PM