Outdoor grilling and smoking requires every bit as much planning & preparation as cooking in the kitchen.
Yesterday’s bimonthly meeting of the On On Gourmet Hash House Harriers was a grilling cook-off. Ditalini and I were the designated hosts, so we set up a new Fortress of Smoke™ on the concrete pad where our hot tub once resided: a charcoal kettle grill, a charcoal smoker, and a gas grill.
A lot of the planning & prep was making sure the right grilling tools and pans were in place. Late in the morning I fired up the smoker to prepare our contribution, a large brisket of beef and a rack of pork spareribs, pre-rubbed the day before and stored overnight in the refrigerator. The meat, ready at 4 PM, went into a warm oven, wrapped in foil so it wouldn’t dry out.
Other On On Gourmets arrived at 5 PM and we got to work on the rest of the grilling. This wasn’t our biggest turnout, since some of our members were away for Easter, but our core group was there: in front, left to right, Anitra Spezzatino & Ditalini deMenthe; in back, Manzo Spezzatino, Magret de Canard, & yours truly, Crouton deMenthe.
Magret made a grilled vegetable platter with asparagus, carrots, red pepper, and summer squash: marinating the vegetables at home and cooking them, with Manzo’s help, at our house on the gas grill. Anitra also prepped her dish at home and cooked it on the gas grill: ginger-soy-lime marinated shrimp.
When everything was ready, I cut up the ribs, carved the brisket, put a bottle of home-made barbecue sauce on the table, and we sat down to our feast:
I said it was a cook-off, and I’d like to say we were all winners, but actually we were all supposed to use grilling recipes from celebrity chef Bobby Flay, and since Manzo & Anitra were the only members who followed the rules, I guess I have to say their shrimp won! But really, everything was fabulous.
Thanks to good planning & preparation, that is!
Our next cooking hash will be in May, and this time we’re going to do something different: rather than cook at a member’s house, we’re going to go out to a famous local Spanish restaurant, Casa Vicente, for tapas.