Friday, December 5, 2014

The Recipe for Stress Free Holiday Grilling: Equal Parts Technology and Technique

For years, I felt pressure during the holidays when I was charged with grilling large (and expensive) cuts of meat. How long would it take? How will I avoid under cooking or over cooking it? What if the meat is finished early? Or worse if I keep everyone waiting for the meat to be done?  Now as the holidays approach I am confident and look forward to grilling those fine roasts. The secret is the sum of two parts: the right technology and the right technique.

The first key to proper holiday grilling is a good digital instant read thermometer. Quality meat thermometers instantly display the internal meat temperature. Using them to measure temperature progress helps reach the target temperature without under cooking or over cooking. The peace of mind is worth the investment. Digital instant read thermometers generally range from $20 to $85.

The second step for holiday grilling is in the technique of the reverse sear.  
The reverse sear allows you to control the timing of the cook, and includes a rest period that can last a few minutes or a few hours, depending on your timing needs. The reverse sear (also known as Sear in the Rear) consists of three parts:
  • Long, slow roast of the meat: The target internal temperature of the meat is 10-15 degrees under the finished temperature.
  • Off grill rest period: Once the meat reaches its target, it can sit off the grill for up to 2 hours. The meat will not rise in temperature more than 5 degrees, and the you can relax and prepare other side dishes as the meat rests.
  • Hot sear to finish: When you are ready, sear the meat at a very high temperature before serving. Searing the meat at the end of the cook browns and caramelizes the exterior of the roast while finishing to a perfect internal temperature.
Tips for preparation of the meat: Olive oil and rubs are superior to elaborate marinades and pastes, as the host will be handling the roast more and heavier crusts won’t stand up. Some cuts, like lamb, are best tied with butcher’s twine. The more rounded and uniform the cut, the more consistent the cook.
Tips for grill setup: Two-zone grilling is another great technique for holiday grilling. If you have two grills this is a good time to use them both – one for low roasting and the other for the hot sear. The hot grill can grill sides during the slow roast, and then get turned up for the hot sear. Gas grills and charcoals grills can also indirectly cook meat at low temperatures, and then the heat can be applied when it’s time to finish.
  • Roasting grill temps: 225° - 250° F
  • Sear Grill temps: 550°-700° F
  • Smaller cuts require approximately 30-45 minutes, while larger roasts can take 1 – 1.5 hours – but the most important aspect is the internal temperature, not the time of the cook.
Three Holiday Grilling Recipes Using The Reverse Sear Technique– prime rib, boneless leg of lamb, and rack of lamb.
    • Slow Roast
    • Rest
    • Sear
    • Slice
  • Reverse Seared Boneless Leg of Lamb. In this recipe we remove the lamb from the netting, lay it out flat and divide it into two equally shaped and sized portions. The lamb is then seasoned and formed into two roasts.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Grateful is the Operative Word

I am grateful to be able to write this blog post.
I am grateful for my wife, my family and friends.
I am grateful for the opportunities I've had and being able to follow my dreams.
I am grateful for all the people who have helped me in life and business.
I am grateful to be an American and live in this wonderful country.

This morning in our office meeting, I expressed how grateful I am for our team and the work we are blessed to create and be a part of. I asked them to take 30 minutes and phone 3-4 people. No emails, no texting. Call them, thank them for their friendship and support. Tell them you appreciate them.

Especially with the turmoil in the world and in our own backyard, it's more important than ever to stop and give thanks.

Who are you going to call?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's Turkey Time! Grill Your Best Turkey Ever This Year!

Turkey is not an easy bird to cook perfectly. Naturally I wander over to where the turkey section compounds in size every year. More science, more techniques, checklists and even Meathead's concern about winning the war on Thanksgiving. When Black Friday encroaches on the traditional Thanksgiving meal and people are in stores or working in stores we are losing an important part of our American heritage. Meathead opines that Thanksgiving is the most important American holiday and he's right.

Gather the family, cook a turkey, cook all day, be together, and most important of all be grateful.

I'm not exactly sure what recipe we'll be doing with our Turkey, that is the boss's job... I just know it will be grilled or maybe smoked. Here's a handy chart to help you grill your best turkey whether you are smoking, roasting or grilling.  Remember, you can't grill a great turkey without a quality meat thermometer.

3 Recipe Ideas for Roasted, Smoked or Grilled Turkey:

One more resource I found very informative was Chris Mark's of The Good One Smoker. Chris recently posted The Science of Cooking Turkey with an emphasis on smoking. I am lobbying to smoke our turkey this year after reading Chris's article.

Please share your comments and ideas and enjoy being part of a 400 year old American tradition to give thanks!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Want to throw a great afternoon food festival?

Here is a simple formula.
  • Beer from great local breweries
  • Hamburgers from great local restaurants and pubs
  • Bands, you guessed it from great local talent
Presenting- The Battle of the Burger- Asheville, NC 8/10/14

How is this for a great ticket? $35 gets you a judges badge and a blue cup. You are now able to
sample all 10 restaurants burgers and enjoy free beer for 3 hours and don't forget to vote! Not into all you can eat and drink? Then buy some burger bucks and just sample a few burgers and a beer or two.

Strategically located between the beer tent and potties!
Congratulations to Kelly Denson of Lush LifeProductions for putting together the first annual Battle of the Burger- Asheville, part of the Asheville Food Fight series.  The winner even got a Golden Ticket to participate in the World Food Championships in Las Vegas in November.

We enjoyed being a sponsor and a judge. Congrats to Rankin Vault Lounge on their big win. I hope we see you in LasVegas! We now has a list of great spots to hit on our next visit to Asheville!

Oh and the people watching was exceptional!

We'll post burger pics soon- the creations were fabulous.  I was too busy judging and eating to take pictures.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Take Fourth of July Entertaining to the Next Level with Two Sweet Grilled Dessert Recipes

Keep the grill hot after the cook-out and grill desserts to top off their 4th of July holiday celebrations.

You will be the neighborhood hero when you grill s'mores for the gang after dinner.  Be prepared to make a plate or start an assembly line with eager volunteers! Or try the fruity Red, White and Blue Dessert Quesadilla. Both recipes are easy to make and easy to grill.

Grate Grilled S'mores

  • Graham Crackers
  • Marshmallows
  • Hershey's Chocolate Squares
Grillling S'mores
Ingredients To make one S’more:
  • 1 Graham Cracker in 2 halves
  • ½ Hershey's Chocolate Bar
  • 1 Marshmallow
Grilling Instructions:
  • Spear marshmallow (1-2 at a time) on GrateTool or large grill fork
  • Hold the marshmallow just over the grillgrates and it will soon start to soften and melt
  • Lower the marshmallows onto the raised rails briefly- turn and repeat
  • Place ½ graham cracker with chocolate on top onto the grillgrates
  • As soon as the chocolate shows signs of melting place marshmallow on top
  • Place top ½ of graham cracker over marshmallow and pull off the fork or gratetool to complete the grilled s'more.
It is a fast grill, less than 1 min for each marshmallow and 30 seconds for the graham cracker and chocolate to be ready for handing off (Tip: have lots of napkins on hand for gooey chocolate) or plating. If possible, let the s'more sit for 2-3 minutes after grilling for the chocolate to firm up a bit.

Red, White and Blue Dessert Quesadilla on the Grill

Blueberries, raspberries, and white chocolate chips are the ideal ingredients for a great dessert
quesadilla. Pre-make ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator.  Keep entertaining family and guests with this nutritious fruity dessert.
raspberries, blue berries and white chocolate chip quesadilla 
  • Four Flour Tortillas
  • Cup of white chocolate morsels
  • Cup of fresh raspberries
  • Cup of fresh blueberries
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Vanilla
dessert quesadilla on grillMAKES 2 Dessert Quesadillas:
Making the filling:

  • 8 ounce container whole ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Mix ingredients together in a food processor -- this makes the filling for two quesadillas.
Making the Quesadilla:
  • Spread 1/3 of the filling on one tortilla (this is the bottom)
  • Sprinkle semi-sweet morsels
  • Place 2nd tortilla on top
  • Spread light film of filling
  • Decorate top with raspberries and blueberries
  • Add a few more white chocolate morsels

Grilling the dessert quesadilla:
  • The grill should be at medium heat, about 400F. Use a grilling spray or wipe the raised rails with oil
  • Slide the Quesadilla off the cutting board onto the GrillGrates- close lid
  • Check in 3-4 minutes by slightly lifting an edge to see the sear marks
  • Quarter turn the quesadilla if dark searing or wait and quarter turn in 1-2 minutes. Close lid
  • Use The GrateTool to check for firmness of quesadilla,it should be crispy and firm
  • Determine whether to give it a couple of more minutes or off it comes onto the cutting board
  • Let stand for 2 minutes
  • Cut and Serve

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rembering Dad at the Grill on Father's Day

Cheers Dad!
Father's Day at the grill is especially poignant for me as my Dad was a big griller and I have carried on the flame, but not his syringe for putting out flare-ups! (Dad was in the syringe business) Grilling with my Father are some of my fondest memories.

His signature dish was marinated london broil which became my signature dish as a young man. Every Father's Day we break out Dad's recipe of marinading a large london broil over night in Catalina French Dressing and pepper corns. That sweet tangy dressing really permeates the meat and makes for a great bark.

I'll hoist my scotch to you Dad when I've got that London Broil searing!

Grilled Breakfast Pizza on GrillGatesLinks to 3 Grate Father's Day Recipes that have become staples in our house:
  • Ultimate Breakfast Pizza- Pre-cook the ingredients the night
    before so in the morning its just assemble grill and eat.
  • London Broil on GrillGratesBurgers Brats & Beer- Be ready for the crowd by keeping extra packages of brats and burgers around if Dad's buddies show up
  • My Father's London BroilMy Father's London Broil- A family tradition in our house started by my Father more than 50 years ago.

Friday, May 30, 2014

GrillGrates Dominate 25th Annual World Championship Steak Cook-Off®

GrillGrate is excited to announce that all five money winners at the 25th Annual World Championship Steak Cook-Off May 16-17th grilled on GrillGrates. The 25th annual competition saw 81 teams vying for the $4,000 grand prize, with prize money paid through 5th place.

Smokehouse Rats of Boyd, Texas won this year’s contest, a $4000 check, and the Governor's Trophy.

“This is the fourth year in a row the winner has grilled on GrillGrates and the first time all five money winners used GrillGrates”. Even more exciting is the enthusiasm of the backyard griller who consistently share pictures and comments about grilling their best steak. GrillGrates have become synonymous with perfectly grilled steaks.

GrillGrate was proud to be a sponsor at this year's event. We prepared breakfast pizzas for the teams on the Grand Prize  Yoder Smoker that was given away to the winner of the Champions of Champions contest.

Steak grilling competitions have become a significant competitive sport with competitions paying sizable sums for that perfect steak. The SCA-The Steak Cook-Off Association was recently formed to help coordinate and standardize steak cook off events and judging. “Steak competitions are the next big thing in the world of grilling”.

Jazzie B and Shannon W were the Grand Prize winners!
The end of May also marked the end of our promotion with Meyer Natural Angus. We asked our fans and customers to submit their best pictures of grilled steaks into one of two categories- #GRATESTEAK for pics of gorgeous sear marks and #PERFECTCUT for pics of perfectly cooked steak interiors. Two winners were chosen along with two runners up. The grand prizes were $129 gift packs of steaks from Meyer and the runners up each received $75 in product from GrillGrate.