Spring!

It’s finally Spring around here, and that means two of my seasonal grilling favorites are starting to show up in our stores – salmon and artichokes.

Salmon and artichokes

I love to cook salmon on a cedar or alder plank. The wood adds a lot of flavor and because it protects the fish from the flames you can high temperatures to seal in the juices. Use a food-grade plank that’s at least half and inch thick. Because you want the plank to smolder, not burn, it needs to soak in water for about 30 minutes.

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Review: Cooking with the Woo2 Raised Grid

My only complaint with the Big Green Egg ceramic cooker is that grilling directly over the lump can be a little challenging. The standard direct setup puts the cooking grid right on top of the hot coals. The heat can get plenty intense and the angle makes it hard to get at the food to move it off of the hot spots. After losing a prime ribeye to immolation after a sear-gone-wild, I decided to investigate some options for remedying this shortcoming.

Woo2

The Woo2 (now Woo3) from The Ceramic Grill Store is a stainless extender that solves these problems by raising the cooking grid. The grid is moved up about 4 inches so it’s almost level with the bottom edge of the cooker, creating 8 inches of clearance above the firebox. This makes handling food a lot easier and gives you much better temperature control. Continue reading “Review: Cooking with the Woo2 Raised Grid”

Earth Day – Eat Locally

Eat Locally

In celebration of Earth Day, I’d like to take a break from talking about grilling meat to talk about, well… grilling local meat.

Becoming a localvore – a person dedicated to eating food grown and produced locally – is one of the best ways you can contribute to a healthier environment. Eating locally:

  • Creates less pollution – fewer fossil fuels are burned getting the food to you.
  • Benefits the local economy – a dollar spent with a local farmer generates twice as much income for the immediate economy.
  • Is more sustainable and self-sufficient – when our community can grow its own food, we are less vulnerable to being manipulated by the big guys who don’t always have our best interests at heart.
  • Is healthier – locally grown food is fresher and requires fewer preservatives.

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Grill Fried Chicken

You’ve heard of chicken fried steak? Well this is grill fried chicken. The long cook over indirect heat renders the fat out the skin so you get the crispy goodness and a juicy inside of traditionally fried chicken plus all the smoke and spice of the grill.

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Bacon – Buckboard and Canadian-style

Bacon

Who doesn’t love bacon? Smokey, salty, crispy – it’s one of the best things to ever happen to a pig. But lately I’ve not been very impressed with the quality of the commercial brands, or the price of the specialty bacon, so I decided to try my hand at making it myself. I wanted something a little leaner than American streaky bacon, so I started with a small 7-pound pork butt (shoulder roast) and a 5-pound loin instead of the more traditional belly meat.

First I needed to cure the meat. I went with a combination of a 1/2 cup plain white sugar and a 1/2 cup Morton’s Sugar Cure. This made up the dry cure. I put the butt and loin into their own large freezer bags and coated them with two tablespoons of the dry cure for each pound of meat – so the butt got 14 tablespoons and the loin got 10.

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Beef Tri-Tip

Tri-tip

Tri-tip is a very fine cut of beef that all too often ends up as stew meat or hamburger. Too bad, because it’s one cheap, tasty hunk of meat that takes well to grilling. The muscle is triangular in shape (hence, tri-tip), weighs in at between 1-1/2 and 2-1/2 pounds, and comes from the bottom of the sirloin. It has great flavor while still being pretty lean.

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Tuna Confit

I got the idea for this dish after having some truly exceptional Portuguese tuna that had been canned in olive oil. It had a great rich flavor and a firm texture that was very moist.

To recreate this at home, I decided to go with something a little more complex and earthy. I started with 2 tuna loin steaks that were about 3/4 of a pound each. I seasoned them with kosher salt and a little fresh cracked black pepper on each side and sat them in a earthenware baking dish.

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