Time to get your Grill on!

It’s that time of year! The time to plant your garden and watch the perennials reappear from under the inches and inches of snow. Get the lawn mower tuned up and blade sharpened to cut the grass for the first time. It is also the time that we get to wear our white shoes with the matching belt. The un-official start of summer has begun! Happy Memorial Day!

My vegetable garden

This is a shot of my outdoor vegetable garden.

This is the weekend to clean off the grill and make sure the gas tank is full or you have a new bag of Kingsford next to the Webber. Cleaning the grill does not mean just the outer shell of leaves, dirt, and spiders, the inside needs to be scraped of charred food from last season (or winter grilling) then rub the grates with a little corn oil (or similar high smoke point oil). This should help the food not to stick plus using a clean surface always makes the food look and taste better.

 

This holiday weekend is also the time to put the dock in the water so invite friends and family to come over enjoy the sun and watersports. Everyone should bring a dish to pass while you fire up the grill to get ready for some outdoor cooking. The grill is a great addition to the patio for some outdoor cooking that can be done year ‘round (except maybe this winter with the massive amounts of snow covering everything). Everything can be cooked on the grill from meats to veggies to breads. Meats should be cooked before the vegetables and separately from each other if you are cooking chicken with beef just so there is not any cross-contamination of meats. The veggies can either be skewered or cooked in a grill wok which works very well.

Market Drop Off

Crisp Country Acres is one of many local farms we get our fresh veggies from.

What do you cook for a ‘cook-out’ with friends and family? That depends on everyone’s taste and eating habits. Some people bring their own meat/veggies to grill, but my choices are usually burgers with melty cheese, chicken, and a wonderful prime steak. Make sure the grill is hot is one area to achieve those restaurant quality grill marks then move the meat into a ‘cooler’ location to finish cooking to the chosen temperature. How do you know when the meat is done? I found that experience is the main way to know when the meat is cooked to the person’s liking. But there are some simple ways to cook ‘to temp’ meat. The palm of your hand indicates the doneness of the meat or the area between your thumb and index finger when each finger touches the thumb. Please do not cut into your steak or chicken because all those wonderful juices will flow out of the muscle and make the meat tough plus there may be a flare-up and burn the meat.

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We here at Webster’s Prime will not be open on Sunday or Monday of Memorial Day weekend. This gives a chance to spend the holiday with our loved ones celebrating our soldiers who have kept this country free and safe. As per Congress, at 3 pm on Memorial Day, all Americans should pause and remember the fallen soldiers. Get those outdoor chores done early so you can relax and spend quality time with the family either at a parade, in the backyard, or by the lake.

Please have a safe and fun holiday weekend from all the staff here at Webster’s Prime!

 

– Richard J. Steward, Line Cook

Webster’s Prime

MY LOVE OF WEBER

Brisket

Let me begin by saying that in the battle between the two grilling communities, Charcoal and Gas, I will always fly the charcoal flag. The caveperson inside all of us is allowed to come out when we light something on fire and cook over it. Our friends at Weber have perfected a way for us to tap into the primal instinct of cooking meat over open flame, and put it in a durable, reliable, and functional package. I am not a paid spokesperson for Weber Grills (although I would gladly accept the position) but I have some pretty deep-rooted brand loyalty to the work of art that bears the Weber name. It remains one of two tattoo ideas I have considered. Weber is my “Harley-Davidson” of things I love, it is shiny black with beautiful stainless steel accents, it annoys my neighbors when I fire it up and smoke drifts into their house, and when you park one in your driveway, people know you mean business. Don’t mess with that guy! He grills on a Weber! I own two of these beautiful machines, a One Touch Silver, and the lesser known Smokey Mountain Cooker.

Both have been a part of my family for several years, and if treated right, will last me as long as I want if I take care of them. The kettle grill is the grocery getter, the everyday steak burner and chicken griller. The smoker is more of a special occasion “Sunday driver” if you will, reserved for things like ribs, brisket, turkey, whole chicken, pork shoulder and even rabbit.

Grilling Rabbits

For me, the reward comes from the all-consuming bed of red-hot coals that lies beneath my food, ready to either destroy my dinner or perfect it, depending on my skill and attention. Charcoal brings a much deeper satisfaction than push-red-button-to-light, low-medium-high dials and hoping that my propane doesn’t run out. I may not have the biggest, hottest, most expensive sports car of a grill, but my little reliable Weber will beat the other tanks off the starting line every time. I know the rebuttal, gas grills are cleaner and more convenient, I can come home from the office and have a quick steak, I wont burn down my porch*. I agree, gas grills are cleaner, you don’t have to wait as long for your heat source, and you run slightly less of a risk of having to call the fire department*, but aren’t all of those things what make grilling a rewarding experience? The charcoal lighting ritual and careful tending of the coals should be part of what we enjoy about making dinner. Grilling should be enjoyed when you have the time, when you are not distracted by a clock or a deadline or a blog entry that is due, it should be a time to experiment and learn about your grill and your skills as a cook, adding a few new coals if necessary to keep the party going. Last but not least, grilling is not just a summer sport. It does not go into storage with the boat! During the colder months the grill more often than not has a little path shoveled to it and the snow surrounding it is melted away. Yes it is cold out, the wind is blowing, but that will keep your coals hotter and your face and fingers will be kept nice and warm by the glowing heat. Don’t be a fair-weather griller, bring the grill out at all times, all year, eight out of twelve months is not enough for me, and you should not settle for wonderful grilled goodness for two thirds of your days either.

*Please Grill Responsibly

Jud McMichael
Sous Chef

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