Saturday, June 27, 2020

Spicy Pork Kebabs

In 1983, Woody Allen released a favorite movie of mine called Zelig. Allen plays Leonard Zelig, a nondescript enigma, who, apparently out of his desire to fit in and be liked, unwittingly takes on the characteristics of strong personalities around him. 

Leonard Zelig is a metaphor for pork. With the exception of ribs, pork is a nondescript enigma that takes on the characteristics of strong spices surrounding it. Beef has a distinct and pronounced flavor. Pork, not so much.

But like Leonard Zelig, pork becomes a chameleon, able to change colors  by the spices and herbs that envelop it. As a cook, you can make pork into whatever you want it to be. So in this recipe, we're going to surround Leonard with really strong spices that will explode with flavor as they char over the coals. Damn, that pig be spicy!

1-3/4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
2 limes: one for juicing; the other for serving wedges
1/4 cup cilantro
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeño 
1 teaspoon honey
1-1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 small red onion, sliced, for serving

  1. Season pork lightly with kosher salt and put it in a bowl or resealable bag. 
  2. Juice the lime into a blender or food processor and add cilantro, fish sauce, garlic, jalapeño and honey. Blend until the jalapeño and garlic are puréed, then add fennel, cumin, coriander seeds and pulse five times to bruise the spices and mix them in. 
  3. Pour mixture over the pork, tossing to coat the pieces. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  4. Prepare your grill for direct cooking over high heat. 
  5. Thread the pork onto skewers, leaving a little space between cubes. Grill for 2 to 5 minutes, then flip the skewers and continue cooking until the meat is browned all over and charred in spots. It should be just cooked through: A little pink is OK, but there shouldn’t be any red spots.
  6. Serve the pork with the onion slices on top and lime wedges on the side for squeezing.

Wine pairing: Zinfandel

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Grilled Rib Eye with Mustard Blue Cheese Sauce

This simple sauce puts an incredibly delightful crown on the king of steaks.


For the Sauce
1 cup half & half
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 garlic clove, minced

For the Steaks
2 rib eye steaks (1-1/2 inches thick)
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

  1. Let rib eye steaks come to room temperature at least 2 hours prior to cooking.
  2. Prepare your grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  3. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, whisking occasionally.
  4. Season steaks generously with salt and pepper. Cook steaks with the grill covered for 5 minutes per side (medium rare). Remove steaks from grill and tent with foil, letting them rest for 10 minutes while sauce finishes cooking.
  5. When sauce has reduced by half, pour over steaks and top each steak with a tablespoon of crumbled cheese. Serve.

Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Lacquered Rib Eye

When it comes to grilling the king of steaks, I usually just use simple salt and pepper as the extent of my seasonings. Once in awhile I take the time to make Lone Star Rub, quite possibly one of the greatest ways to dress a rib eye (

And now I have a third way to prepare my rib eye steak. I came across this recipe earlier in the week and gave it a test run on Wednesday. The premise is simple. Using a two-zone set-up on your grill, you cook the steak with just salt while it is directly over the hot coals. Then, when you move it to the indirect side, you lacquer the steaks with a sauce. The sauce, a reduction of vinegar, soy and fish sauces, garlic and sugar, gives the steak incredible depth and puts a beautiful brown crust on the meat. This recipe will serve 2 people with generous portions and will result in a medium rare steak when cooked over charcoal..


For the Sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed

For the Steaks
One, 2-1/2 pound bone-in rib eye steak (2" thick)
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)
Flaky sea salt
Lemon wedges (for serving)


  1. Set steak on counter about 3 hours before cooking. Salt the steak generously on both sides with kosher salt.
  2. Bring vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and garlic to simmer in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and gently simmer until reduced by half, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Prepare your grill for two zone cooking (coals only on one side of the grill).
  4. When coals are hot, set steak directly over coals. Cover grill and cook for 4 minutes. Then flip steak, cover grill and cook for 4 more minutes.
  5. Move steak to indirect side. Generously brush steak with sauce. Cover grill and cook for 3 minutes. Then flip steak. Brush on the rest of the sauce, then cover grill and cook for 3 more minutes.
  6. Remove steak and place on a cutting board. Tent with foil and let steak rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Slice the steak and then plate. Drizzle the slices with olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Serve with lemon wedges.

Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon

Grogs and Goldie, 1956