Archive | May 2012

Four Dishes, One Egg

I sometimes dream about my ideal backyard.  I would love to have a full outdoor kitchen.  Besides a functional sink, prep area, and storage, it would be equipped with a variety of grills.  I’d need a Weber, a big fancy smoker, a Large Big Green Egg, and an Extra Large Big Green Egg.  I often describe this future outdoor kitchen to Mrs. Esquire and she always has the same response.  Who is going to eat all this food?!?!  (The answer, of course, could be you, gentle reader.  Move to San Francisco if you don’t live here already.)

In reality, however, it doesn’t take much to bring my large Big Green Egg to capacity.  This is especially true when I’m making foods with varying cook times and which require lots of flipping or stirring.

On that note, I’m pretty proud of a recent four course meal I prepared on the BGE.  The meal included potatoes and onions, zucchini and squash, ribeye steaks, and halibut steaks.

The “order of operations” was the subject of much discussion and debate as I warmed up the grill.  A few considerations: the steaks needed to be directly on the cast iron grill.  The potatoes needed the longest cook time, and the zucchini and squash were the quickest.  The fish was in tinfoil and was the only part of the meal that didn’t need attention while on the grill.

I began with the potatoes and onions.  These potatoes actually took awhile – perhaps because I raised them and perhaps because I cut them into fairly large chunks.  I pulled them after almost 40 minutes and wrapped the stones in tinfoil.  They redware really retains the heat.

As the potatoes cooked I prepared the rest of the dishes.

Look at those beautiful ribeyes from Marin Sun Farms!

Here’s the Halibut.  As a side note, I usually don’t buy fish steaks like this but they were the best thing my fish guy had on hand.  I was actually surprised and how great they tasted!

And now, for the fun part!  Luckily I had a great wing man and photographer for this cook (no offense to Mrs. Esquire or women in general).  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Whew!  Lots of involved maneuvering over a 500 degree fire!  We had a great time with it, though.  There’s something very satisfying and primal about preparing four dishes over an open flame.  I’ll close the post out with more pictures.

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Pork for All

I have to chime in on the recent gay marriage amendment in North Carolina.  Unfortunately, I’ll always feel a pang of sorrow and shame when I whip up my Carolina-style pulled pork sauce.  I truly believe that gay marriage is our generation’s civil rights movement.  Someday we will look back on this era and wonder how we could have condoned such overt discrimination, using the power of the majority to strip rights from the minority.

Of course, North Carolina is not alone.  California passed Proposition 8 four years ago.  That law has been overturned at the district court level, however, and has begun the long road to eventual Supreme Court review.  I hope Minnesotans look deep within their hearts before voting in November on the gay marriage amendment in that state.

On a brighter note, I have continued to revise my carolina sauce from the recipe I outlined here.  I used the information and inspiration I gathered during my recent trip to Charlotte in tweaking the recipe.  During a recent cook, I changed three things: 1) I used more liquid in the drip pan; 2) I used a 2-1 mixture of apple cider vinegar to white vinegar in the sauce; and 3) I cut the heat in half.  I also gave myself the time to reach 200 degrees and then allowed the meat to rest for two hours wrapped in heavy duty tinfoil and towels and placed in a cooler.  I was really happy with the results.  Way better than my last pull.  I’m looking forward to trying it again, soon!  Pulled pork for all!

Goat Loin with Red Wine, Garlic, and Rosemary Marinade

I have a rare night home alone tonight, and I’m grabbing the opportunity to grill up a steak and catch up on my blogging.

I’ve written quite a bit about goat from my meat CSA.  My favorite preparation to this point has been a ground pepper and dijon mustard crust.  For this cook, I sought out a new marinade.

Generally speaking, I’m more of a rub guy than a marinade guy.  I like the salt, the pepper, the heat, and the bite that you get with a rub.  Every rule has its exceptions, though, and this one is no different.  Goat and lamb really take well to marinades.

I found a recipe for this marinade online.  Of course, I can’t find it again tonight, so I’ll have to work off memory and my pictures.

I apparently used rosemary and garlic from our garden in the marinade.  I know I also used red wine, because I remember that the recipe called for pinot noir.  I’m not really sure the varietal of grape matters when you’re using red wine in a marinade.  Since we had a bottle of red open already (again, I don’t recall what it was!), I used that instead of opening a new bottle of pinot.  There was probably olive oil, salt and pepper in the marinade as well.  I also seem to recall some balsamic.

Do you ever have trouble finding the right container for marinading meat?  Plastic freezer bags are good, but often way too big.  When the container is too big you have wasted marinade swimming around the edges without touching any meat.  So I came up with this idea:

I taped the bag to the inside of the refrigerator.  Using the power of good, old gravity, the marinade surrounded the meat perfectly!

Grilling the goat loin was a bit of a challenge.  Whether it was the marinade or just the meat, the surface seemed to char really quickly and take on almost a shiny, glazed appearance.  The cut is also heavily marbled, which makes it tough to get an accurate temperature reading.  I initially pulled the loin after about 20 minutes.

You can see here how the loin has almost a sausage-like appearance.

Unfortunately, after my first two cuts into the loin it became clear that it was undercooked.  So I threw the meat back onto the grill for another 10 minutes or so.  One interesting benefit of this – I placed the two pieces I already cut directly on the grill and treated them like small loin steaks.  You can see them in the picture below.  After the second stint on the grill I topped the meat with the rest of the marinade, which had been simmering on the stove while the meat cooked.

The marinade and the goat were delicious.  The heavy marbling in this cut, which gave me problems during the cook, is also a bit of a challenge for eating.  Mrs. Esquire and I had resolved not to serve the goat to guests because the marbling leads to awkward eating.  On this night, however, my sister-in-law was in town and I wanted to share some goat.  I just gave her advance warning and told her not to be shy about digging in around the fat.  I think she enjoyed it!

As always, thanks for reading.