|Lots of food on the grills were ready for tasting when the class began|
The class was held at Backyard Bistro, a family-owned restaurant in Raleigh, NC, well known for several signature dishes, including beef brisket slow roasted for 12 hours over hickory wood and St. Louis-style pork ribs dry-rubbed and also slow roasted. Three stations had been set up outdoors just outside the restaurant’s patio area: one was a custom-built open grill heated with charcoal briquettes, and another was a clamshell cooker fired by gas. The most intriguing grill had been made out of a trashcan for demonstrating smoking techniques.
|The simplest grill is made out of a|
The class was more a sampling class than a cooking class, although a chef at each station explained the advantages and disadvantages of the setup and heat source. The class favorite was clearly the homemade trashcan grill, and the distinctive smoke flavor imparted to food cooked in it attracted the most attention.
|Smoking box with hickory wood inside|
the trashcan grill.
The chef indicated that the trashcan grill had been built for less than $50 in supplies, including L-brackets, temperature gauge, circular steamer grates, and a smoking box for holding wood. At the bottom of the trashcan, holes had been drilled to let in air that kept charcoal embers slowly burning to heat and smoke hickory wood pieces in the smoking box set on the coals.
|Ribs prepared in the trashcan grill|
were extremely flavorful.
|Food smoked in the trashcan is|
ready for sampling.
The class was brief, and its instruction was basically only an introduction for someone interested in starting to grill. Anyone with grilling experience wouldn’t gain much except for enjoying the food that had been cooked. In fact, some seemed interested in only eating. However, the chefs did offer suggestions practical for the backyard griller:
- Don’t pre-soak wood being used to impart a smoky flavor to avoid smoldering it and changing the smoke flavor that would be otherwise produced.
- Use a smoking box for the wood (rather than placing the wood directly on the coals) so that the smoke is gradual.
- Sear meat on a hot cooking area initially to lock in flavor and juices.
- Move the meat after searing to a low heat area so that cooking continues slowly.
|One of the vehicles in|
Backyard Bistro's fleet
|Joe Lubrazo discusses meat and vegetables cooked on gas-fired grill.|
|The buffet enjoyed|
at the end of the class.
Although no recipes were provided as part of the class, this recipe is a good one for grilling pineapple.
1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced into one-inch rings
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1. Mix honey, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in bowl.
2. Add pineapple to bowl and spoon mixture over pineapple rings.
3. Place pineapple rings and mixture in plastic bag that can be resealed.
4. Seal bag and press to continue coating each ring.
5. Marinate overnight (but not less than 30 minutes)
6. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
7. Grill pineapple for approximately 3 minutes per side. Remove when grill marks appear (and be careful to avoid burning sugar on pineapple).
Note: Makes about 12 servings.
|Grilled pineapple that I prepared several days after the class using this recipe.|