Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lets Get Those Grills Heated Up!!

Here in New England, it seems like everyone has a grill and many of us actually grill all year long. In fact, I personally have a great time grilling right after one of those big ol' Noreasters we get here in MA...The idea of having people shoveling snow and raising their heads to smell some marinated steak tips, chicken or even burgers and dogs...makes me chuckle a little on the inside. Grills are more then a heat and eat kind of item though, they are tools that can turn food into complete masterpieces! All it takes is a little planning, some seasoning, a few good bbq utensils, a healthy appetite and a platterful of soon-to-be great food!

Before I even start with recipes and ideas for grilling, let's get something straight right away...I use a gas grill and have for many years. A grilling 'purist' will almost always use a charcoal based grill. Some say it has better heat while others say it has better flavor. Having used both, the convenience and ease of a gas grill wins me over every time. I have learned to grill over the space of many years, trying out a few new ideas here and there along with some new flavors. At times it has not worked out so well, case in point, the day my grill went up in flames...literally, up in flames. The sausages, which were grilling nicely only moments before became lava rocks before my eyes. Flip that around though and you get some amazing stories of food that had everyone on the back deck at home staring and eating without making a noise. Applewood Bacon Scallops or the Garlic Butter Top Loin Steaks always come to mind as success stories. Here are some tips and tools for getting the job done the next time you are in the mood to fire up some good eats!!

If you plan on doing any type of grilling, get some good quality grill tools. I have seen many people try and use everyday kitchen items while cooking over open flames. That plastic spatula that is great at making scrambled eggs isn't going to work real well when trying to flip burgers! Start with the basics and you can do almost anything. A good long handled steel spatula for starters, followed by a pair of tongs and a good wire brush. The tongs should be long handled so you can carefully turn items like vegetables, salmon or steak tips. A wire brush will help keep the grates on any grill surface clean. The grates on the grill can be cleaned at any time, but it is easiest when heated. Grill masters also recommend that you oil the grates after each use and cleaning. This can be done with some regular cooking oil, brushed on with a papertowel.

What good though is having some useful grilling tips if you dont have any new or fresh ideas? That's where I come in...see I love to grill and in fact, would prefer to grill year round and never use the stove!! While that is not really a feasible and logical idea...it is lots of fun.

Try this one on for a summer afternoon...

Korean Barbecued Beef with Grilled Baby Leeks and Ginger Dipping Sauce

I came across this recipe during a thunderstorm and it drew me in. Mostly because of the fact that it is different. The short ribs used for the recipe are actually cut crosswise, leaving almost bite-sized chunks of the beef around a 1/4 inch thick. In order to find these ribs though, you will have to ask your butcher or store meat cutter to help on the cut. Most places will have no problem helping out, espicially when you tell them what you are going to be doing. The sauce is easy to make and the baby leeks are available at most supermarkets. If you have trouble finding them, use full sized leeks which are trimmed down to a managable size. Cut the tops down and trim the bottom ends.

3 to 4 pounds, Short Ribs cut crosswise
1/2 Cup Peanut Oil
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Seed
1 tsp Sesame Oil
2 Green Onions, Chopped
3 Tbs Chopped Garlic
2 tsp Chili Paste
1 1/2 Tbs Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
3 Bunches Leeks, rinsed and trimmed. Cut lengthwise and coat with olive oil for grilling.

Ginger Dipping Sauce

1 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbs Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
2 tsp Fresh Ground Ginger

Place the short ribs into a non-aluminum pan. In a bowl, combine all marinade ingredients and pour over the ribs. Allow it to sit for 2 hours at room temperature or allow them to marinate overnight. Turn the ribs 3 or 4 times if you allow them to sit overnight. Do not leave the ribs out longer then 2 hours at room temperature, place them into the refrigerator. If you use a gas grill, fire it up to a medium/high temperature. Wait until the grates are just turning hot and add the leeks. Allow them to char slightly, about 3 minutes on each side. All grills are different, so please keep an eye on them. Now that the grill is good and hot, place the marinated ribs around the center of the grates. The ribs should be good at 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the meat and leeks onto a large platter. Combine the sauce ingredients together and serve along with the meat in small bowls or dipping ramekins.

Spice Crusted Pork Tenderloins

Cooking this nice piece of meat on the grill is actually pretty easy. Sear this over a high heat until it is golden brown and then slide it over to the cooler side of the grill, along the edges. Make sure to turn it occasionally for the final 10 to 12 minutes.

3  12 to 14 oz Pork Tenderloins
1  tsp Salt, or to taste
1  tsp Pepper, or to taste
3  Tbs Olive Oil
2  Tbs Chopped Garlic
3  Tbs Fennel Seed
3  Tbs Ground Cumin
1  Tbs Ground Cinnamon
1  Tbs Brown Sugar

Sprinkle the tenderloins with salt and pepper. In a small bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, fennel, cumin, cinnamon and sugar. Mix well and then coat the tenderloins generously. Grill over the center of a hot fire, turning once or twice for about 5 minutes. Follow the directions from above to finish the tenderloins. Check for doneness by cutting itno the thickest part of the tenderloin, it should be just a slight pink in the center. Remove the pork from the grill and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

It has been a fantastic summer so far and I want to say thanks to everyone who has been following me on this incredible journey called Kitchen Time. I am always trying to learn new things, present those same ideas and make myself a better Chef. After taking a couple of weeks off to concentrate on my duties as a husband and father, it is back to the computer for some overdue writing. Coming up over the next several days...I promise to update everyone on my diet with some more healthy living tips, work some magic as we talk about dry rubs and marinades and the week is going to finish off with an amazing piece on Sushi!!

Thanks again and don't forget to check out the Kitchen Time Facebook page

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