Saturday, May 26, 2018

Beer Poached & Grill Smoked Brats

Sausage is a religious experience for me...just a half of a notch below steak. In the sausage hierarchy, Bratwurst is the be-all, end-all. Followed closely by Hot Italian Sausage. But you can't just cook or grill bratwurst. Bratwurst must be prepared.

Preparing bratwurst is a two-step process. First, these oh-so-special sausages must be poached in beer. But beer alone will never do. Coarsely chopped onion and dried rosemary must accompany their friend, Budweiser (my favorite brand for cooking brats).

Once poached, the brats must spend 20 minutes of quality time on the grill. But not over direct heat. I use a half of a Weber chimney of lump charcoal and set it off to the side of the grill. To that, I add a big chunk of mesquite to give the brats a wisp of smoked perfection. The brats get set to the other side of the grill.....where they gently brown up.

Once cooked, my brats slide into fresh brat buns and are accompanied by finely diced onions and Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard. And each bite is joyfully washed down with a substantial guzzle of Stella Artois. How does a Memorial Weekend not get any better than that?

6 bratwurst sausages
2 cans Budweiser
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 large chunk of mesquite

6 brat buns
Finely diced onions
Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard


  1. Place the sausages in the bottom of a sauce pan. Add enough beer so that the sausages are completely immersed in the beer. Then add chopped onion and rosemary.
  2. Prepare a grill for indirect cooking over medium heat.
  3. Bring beer to a boil in sauce pan and then turn down heat to a gentle simmer. Cook brats in beer for 20 minutes.
  4. Place coals to one side of the grill and put the brats on the other side. Add mesquite to coals. Cover grill and cook brats for 20 minutes. Then serve in brat buns with finely diced onions and Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard.

Pairing: It's Memorial Day Weekend. It's 90º outside. You are going to be eating the best tasting brats in the entire world, so let's not go anywhere but to Stella Artois.

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Green Tomato Salad

Green tomatoes are very firm and deliciously acidic. If you hit any farmer's market at this time of year, it's fairly easy to score some free green tomatoes as there is not a lot of demand for them. If you can't find any green tomatoes, go ahead and substitute with some store-bought reds. The salad is delicious either way.

3 large green tomatoes, cored, quartered and thinly sliced lengthwise
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
A fat handful of parsley and mint, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely sliced or chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Place tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and toss with the salt. Transfer to a fine strainer and let drain for 30 minutes.
  2. In a shallow dish, combine tomatoes with the cucumber, onion, parsley, mint, jalapeño, lime juice and olive oil. Toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Grilled Modena Ribeye

Modena is the automotive center of Italy. But it's not really the "Detroit" of Italy. Because in Detroit you have automotive brands like Chevrolet and Ford. In Modena, you have automotive marquees like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, De Tomaso and my personal favorite, Pagani.

I believe the Pagani Huayra roadster is the most lustworthy car in existence. For cash buyers, it will set you back $2,400,000. If you don't have that much cash laying around, you can always lease it. For that, you'll need a $700,000 down payment and then make monthly lease payments of $25,000.

Click for a larger view

At $800.00 per pound, that Pagani is one very expensive proposition. That comes out to a whopping $50.00 per ounce. A little beyond the reach of most of us mortals who are not named Lebron James. But if you are traveling to Modena and would still like to come home with a really cool souvenir, I've got something that will only set you back $1.94 per ounce.

That's because Modena, Italy also happens to be the world's most revered maker of Balsamic Vinegar. Treasured and placed on the highest epicurean pedestal, the very best stuff is often aged for decades like a fine cognac.

My very favorite Modena Balsamic Vinegar is available at Williams Sonoma. It's been made by the Leonardi family for 3 generations. It's a spectacular formula of grapes and vinegar that is aged in wooden casks for 25 years before being bottled. It comes in a 15.5 ounce bottle and sells for $ absolute bargain for something that was 25 years in the making. So while the $2.4 million Pagani Huayra may be a bit of a financial stretch, there's no reason you can't jump in your $300K Ferrari GTC4 Lusso and drive over to Williams Sonoma for one of Modena's finest contributions to mankind.

Click for a larger view


Modena Marinade
2 tablespoons aged Modena Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

4 USDA prime ribeye steaks, each about 1-3/4 inches thick

  1. In a small bowl, combine marinade ingredients and whisk to stir.
  2. Place steaks in a ziplock bag, pour marinade in. Seal bag and toss to mix. Refrigerate for 8 hours, flipping bag over every 2 hours.
  3. Prepare a grill for direct (high heat) and indirect cooking.
  4. Remove steaks from bag and wipe off excess marinade with a paper towel.
  5. For medium rare, place steaks over direct heat. Cover grill and cook for 4 minutes. Then flip steaks, cover and cook for 4 more minutes.
  6. Move steaks to indirect side of grill. Cover grill and cook for 5 minutes. Then move steaks to a serving platter, tent with foil and let them rest for 5 minutes. Then serve.

Wine pairing: Don't even think of eating a Grilled Modena Ribeye without a bottle of Italy's finest wine on the table....a Barolo. And older is gooder, because just like me, Barolos get so much better with age.

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Grilled Buffalo Wings

I love chicken wings. During the winter months, I make do with the frozen kind...Perdue's Buffalo Style Chicken Wings. They are ok, but not great. You just bake them. The sauce is already on the wings, but they have a faint metallic taste to them.

Come spring, chicken wings get elevated to a whole new level. First off, the wings are fresh... butchered the day before. And I cook them over charcoal and mesquite for a subtle, smoky flavor. And few things taste better than fresh, grilled chicken wings.

The reason I like this recipe so well is because it is so stinking easy. Most buffalo wing recipes call for basting the wings while they cook. Basting all of those little wings is a big pain in the ass. And basting while they grill means you will have a major grill cleaning session requiring an extraordinary amount of elbow grease.

With this recipe, you just grill up your wings...dump them in a bowl...pour the sauce over them... then toss and serve. It doesn't get any easier than that and clean-up is a breeze! A tip of my hat to Joshua Bousel for his Grilled Buffalo Wings recipe.


For the Wings
3 pounds fresh chicken wings, cut up
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce
2 tablespoons of Sriracha or Tabasco
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Place chicken wings in a zip lock bag. Add cayenne, pepper and salt to bag. Seal bag and toss to mix. Refrigerate for 4 hours or more.
  2. Prepare your grill for both indirect and direct heat zones.
  3. Make the sauce. Melt butter in a small saucepan and then add rest of sauce ingredients. Whisk to mix and keep warm over very low flame.
  4. When grill is ready, place chicken wings on indirect side of the grill. Cover grill and cook wings for 8 minutes. Then move wings to direct side of grill, cover grill and cook for 2 minutes. Then flip wings, cover the grill and cook for 2 minutes more.
  5. Remove the wings to a bowl. Pour sauce over the wings and toss to coat evenly. Then serve.

Pairing: If it's buffalo chicken wings, the only beverage I will consider is an ice cold Pilsner. If someone puts a gun to your head and forces you to drink wine, pick a Zinfandel...but it had better be a Turley.

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Grilled Flank Steak with Arugula and Shaved Parmesan

Unlike April,  the weather gods have been showing us great favor in the month of May. Every night this month has been perfect for grilling. I bought my 32-pound bag of lump hardwood charcoal at Costco 10 days ago and I've already put quite a dent in my supply.

Grilling flank steak is one of life's simple pleasures. Huge, big beefy taste for very little money. Grill it up and toss it with peppery arugula and some shaved's like a quick trip to Florence, Italy without leaving your back yard.

1 flank steak (1-1/2 to 2 pounds)
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 cups loosely packed baby arugula
1 cup shaved parmesan


  1. Lightly brush the steak on both sides with oil and season evenly with salt and pepper. Allow the steak to stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar and sugar. Allow the mixture to reduce by half, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  4. Grill the steak over the coals with the lid closed for 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Cut the steak lengthwise in half and then cut each half across the grain into thin slices; divide evenly on serving plates. Pour any juices remaining on the cutting board over the steak, and pile the arugula on top. Drizzle each serving of the arugula with oil and the balsamic reduction, season with salt and pepper, and top with the cheese. Serve right away.

Wine pairing: If you are going to truly enjoy this dinner from Tuscany, you'll want to wash it down with Brunello di Montalcino.

Grogs and Goldie, 1956