Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Why, they grill it.

Growing up in Yankee-Land, I was surrounded by people who were under the mistaken impression that Barbecuing = Grilling. “Let’s have a barbecue” really meant “Let’s throw some burgers (or steaks, or hot dogs) on the grill.” But when I moved south to the sacred soil of Texas, I quickly learned that the only elements common to both Barbecuing and Grilling are Fire and Meat.

Barbecuing - Texas-style, anyway - involves seasoning meat with a dry rub (unless it is a self-contained entity such as sausage), then slow-cooking it over low heat in a smoky atmosphere. After it is cooked, the meat may be sauced. Some practitioners of the art will also mop the meat with a sauce as it cooks, depending on what sort of meat it is. The combination of slow, smoky cooking and the dry rub produces a result that is tender and full of flavor, while the precise details of technique (e.g., what kind of meat, composition of the rub and the sauce, etc.) are matters of taste violent differences of opinion bordering on the maniacal.

Grilling, on the other hand, simply involves exposing the Meaty Product to a high temperature, preferably generated by burning charcoal. By controlling time and temperature (i.e., distance from the heat source), excellent results may be obtained.

Texans are versatile people. They can barbecue, and they can grill...and they know the difference. And so it is that, Sunday evening at the home of Morris William, we did some Serious Grilling.

Two-inch-thick ribeye steaks. Asparamagoosalum, sprinkled with kosher salt and anointed with golden olive oil. Red and green jalapeño peppers stuffed with Havarti, Gouda, Cheddar and/or Swiss cheese.

Here they are on the grill, a beautiful oblong device that also serves as a smoker when it’s Barbecue Time:

And here are the results. Nice, juicy steaks, tender inside with a charred exterior...

Yummy asparamagoosalum and piquant jalapeños...

Note, by the way, the Handy-Dandy Stuffed Jalapeño Pepper Holder at the upper left. After having tried Laurence Simon’s grilled stuffed jalapeños, I had to get me one of these devices, which conveniently holds the peppers vertically so that the cheese stays in ’em when it melts.

Put it all together and it looks pretty as a picture. Now, where’s my Adult Beverage?

Postscriptum: You might think that eating all those hot peppers would give me a case of the Screaming Monkey Butt. You know - the Dreaded Ring-Burn. But no. Grilled jalapeños are spicy, but not overbearingly so, and the red ones are milder than the green ones. At least, these were.

One Important Caveat: After prepping the jalapeños (washing, coring, and stuffing them), do NOT let your fingers get anywhere near your eye-bones for several hours. Washing the hands - however thoroughly - will not remove all traces of capsaicin, and you do not want that shit anywhere near any kind of Mucous Membrane. Eyes, nostrils, cooters...all are vulnerable to the Sting of the ’Peño.

No comments: