December 2016 — Recipes for the Holidays

Wood-fired Porchetta

It has become a bit of a tradition to create a new holiday roast as the hero of our December newsletter. I think we have raised the bar this year with a decadent Wood-fired Porchetta with Blueberries, Juniper Berries and Hazelnuts. If you want to check out my past favorites, I suggest the Mint Pesto Rolled Leg of Lamb, Standing Rib Roast, or Rotisserie Pork with Espresso Garlic Rub. A beautifully prepared roast really is my favorite kind of centerpiece for a festive holiday table.

For sides, I suggest either grilled broccoli or asparagus. Both of these dishes are easy to prepare after the porchetta comes off the grill during the time it is resting.

Finally, we have a special treat in this issue. We’re all cooking enthusiasts here at Kalamazoo, and one our most talented is Polly Ho. Polly has done more client demonstrations than I can remember, and I thought all of you would enjoy some of her recipes. First off, many of our clients are curious about baking bread in the pizza oven. I’ve asked Polly to share her method for baking delicious Freshly Baked Parker House Rolls in this issue. Even better, you simply have to try her Smoked Chocolate Pecan Pie for dessert!

All of us at Kalamazoo wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season.


Russ Faulk

Russ Faulk Grillmaster Signature

Wood-Fired Porchetta with Blueberries and Hazelnuts

Grill-roasted Porchetta with Blueberries and Hazelnuts

Ultra-crispy browned skin is the hallmark of a good porchetta, and the most flavorful way to achieve this is with a wood fire in a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill. Luscious pork belly is wrapped around pork loin with an inspired filling of blueberries, juniper berries, hazelnuts, thyme and pancetta. The combination is a match made in heaven.


  • An 8 pound piece of skin-on pork belly, about 50% lean
  • A 3 pound pork loin roast
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole juniper berries
  • ¾ cup whole hazelnuts
  • ¾ cup dried blueberries
  • 6 ounces sliced pancetta
  • ¾ ounce fresh thyme, leaves picked and stems discarded
  • Freshly-grated zest of 2 lemons
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Hazelnut oil


Notes: The dry brining takes 2 to 4 hours. After assembling the porchetta, it should sit for 2 hours before going on the grill. Roasting time is 2 hours. Resting time after cooking is 30 minutes.

Lay out the pork belly in a sheet pan with the skin side up. Use the serrated end of a meat tenderizer to vigorously pound the skin all over. This helps break down connective tissues and creates a crispier skin as the end result. I recommend at least 12 full passes across the entire surface of the skin with the tenderizer. Next, use the point of a paring knife to pierce through the skin all over. Spacing should be roughly ¾ inch. Turn the pork belly over so that the skin side faces down. Use the same paring knife to score a 1 inch criss-cross pattern into the meat ½ an inch deep. This will help the porchetta cook evenly. Season this side with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt for a “dry brine.” Season the loin roast with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt as well. Flip the pork belly back over again so the skin side is facing up. Refrigerate both the belly and the loin uncovered for 2 to 4 hours.

Begin preparing the filling by toasting the juniper berries in a skillet over medium heat. Reserve. Do the same with the hazelnuts. Cook the pancetta until crisp. Pour the fat from the pan into a measuring cup and reserve.

Combine the juniper berries, blueberries, hazelnuts, thyme, lemon zest and pepper in the work bowl of a food processer. Add hazelnut oil to the measuring cup with the reserved pancetta fat to measure ¼ cup combined. Add this to the food processor and process into a dry, pesto-like texture. Transfer to a bowl. Chop the cooked pancetta by hand, then stir it into the rest of the filling.

Take the pork out of the refrigerator, and flip the belly back over so that it’s skin-side-down. Place the loin on the belly and roll them up for a test fit. Trim one or both to adjust for a perfect roll. If possible, leave the pork belly about 2 inches longer than is required to fully wrap the loin. Trim away that last 2 inches of meat, leaving just the skin. You’ll use the flap of skin to seal up the wrap.

Porchetta with Hazelnut and Blueberry Filling

Once trimmed to size, spread the filling on top of the belly. Place the loin back on top of the belly and roll the roast back up. Tie securely with butcher’s string at 1 inch intervals.

How to tie a Porchetta

Let the roast sit at room temperature for 2 hours before cooking.

Prepare the grill for indirect roasting. You’ll be cooking initially at 500°F in the indirect zone, then lowering to 350°F. To cook with a wood fire in the Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill, the technique is as follows:

  • Select two split logs (oak is recommended) that fit easily in the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer. Remove the far left or far right grill grate. Load the logs into the two channels of the drawer where the grill grate was removed. Fire up the ignition burner and the main burner below the wood on HIGH.
  • Preheat the grill and start the wood burning for about 15 minutes with the grill hood open.
  • Wearing protective gloves and using long grilling tongs, remove the burning wood from the channels and reorient across the front of the grilling drawer.
  • You will be cooking with the wood fire as your primary heat source. Keep the ignition burner running the entire time. The single main burner will remain on HIGH for the 500°F portion of the cooking, and then turned OFF for the 350°F portion of the cooking. Add fresh wood chunks to the front fire occasionally as needed to maintain temperature.
  • The meat will be placed on the grates toward the back of the grill, away from the active burners and the wood fire.
  • Because the wood fire is located directly below the grill hood thermometer, it will read a higher temperature than where the meat is placed. We suggest placing an inexpensive oven thermometer on the grill grate next to the meat for a closer temperature reading.

Wood-fired porchetta roasting on the grill

Place the porchetta in the indirect zone of the grill, away from the wood fire. Roast with the hood closed at 500°F for 30 minutes. Rotate the porchetta 180 degrees at the 15 minute mark. Adjust the fire to reduce the temperature to 350°F, and continue roasting for approximately 90 minutes more. Continue rotating the roast every 20 to 30 minutes for even cooking.

Remove the roast from the grill when the internal temperature of the loin registers 145°F. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 30 minutes. Slice into ½ inch rounds to serve. A serrated knife is helpful for cutting through the crunchy skin.

Freshly Baked Parker House Rolls

Warm Parker House Rolls

One of the things we love about the Artisan Fire Pizza Oven is its versatility. It is optimized for baking incredible pizzas, but it can also be used for baking bread, and roasting meat, seafood and veggies. We have adapted this recipe from Food52’s Yossy Arefi, specifically for baking in the Artisan Fire Pizza Oven. Warm, freshly baked bread rolls are the perfect accompaniment to pretty much every holiday meal. This recipe is fairly simple to make, and creates plenty of wonderfully flaky, buttery rolls. Serve hot out of the oven after brushing with a little melted butter and salt, and your guests are sure to be impressed. 


  • 1 envelope active dry yeast (about 2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • ¼ cup warm water, at 110° F
  • ¼ unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed just slightly
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • Flaky finishing salt, such as Maldon


Whisk the yeast and water together. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the butter, sugar, and salt. Whisk in the milk and egg. Add the foamy yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the flour and stir until a dough forms, then knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. The dough will be soft and will probably stick to the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about one and a half hours.

Butter the inside of a 12-inch cast iron skillet.

Once the dough has finished resting, divide it into 4 pieces. On a floured surface, roll one dough piece into a roughly 12- by 6-inch rectangle. Brush the top with melted butter and fold the dough over lengthwise. Cut the rolls at an angle to form triangles without a top point. This will allow you to fit the rolls evenly in the round cast iron skillet. Lay the folded rolls in the skillet, slightly overlapping.

Repeat with the remaining dough, then brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter. Loosely cover the skillet with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 30 more minutes.

Preheat the Artisan Fire Pizza Oven for 30 minutes with the back burner on MEDIUM and the bottom burner on LOW. The target baking temperature is 350°F. You can place an inexpensive oven thermometer on the baking deck inside the oven to help you dial in the burners to achieve the target temperature.

Place the skillet in the pizza oven sideways with the handle to the left or right. Bake the rolls until golden brown and puffed, about 30 minutes total. After 15 minutes, rotate the skillet 180 degrees and continue baking another 15 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the pizza oven, then brush with melted butter and sprinkle with the flaky salt. Serve warm.

Smoked Chocolate Pecan Pie

Smoked Chocolate Pecan Pie

The Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill was designed with a deep firebox, to allow heat to evenly circulate throughout the entire grill. It is this even heat that makes the Hybrid Fire Grill perfect for roasting and baking – cooking techniques that are not possible on most other grills. This month we have taken advantage of the incredible flavors that can only be created with a live fire from the grill. We used Pecan Wood Smoker Pellets to infuse this glorious grill-roasted pie with a subtle smoky, nutty flavor. If you’re looking for a show-stopping holiday dessert that your guests are sure to love, our Smoked Chocolate Pecan Pie is a must-try.


For the Pie Crust

  • 1 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick + 2 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 4 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling

  • 2 cups pecan halves, toasted (1 cup chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (melted and cooled)
  • 2/3 cup dark corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons  smoked maple syrup (we used Runamok’s Pecan Wood Smoked Maple Syrup)
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


For the Pie Crust

In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add in all of the butter and process until you get pea size crumbs.

Continue to process and add ice water one tablespoon at a time. Crumbs will look like course sand. Be careful not to over process.

Pour out mixture onto a clean surface and form into a ball. You’ll find the mixture will want to stick together quite easily. Work as quickly as you can so that the butter does not melt. Cold butter makes for a flaky crust.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and press down to form a disc. Refrigerate for two hours, or overnight.

For the Filling

In a large bowl, mix together melted butter and brown sugar until combined.

Pour in melted chocolate and mix thoroughly.

Add in corn syrup, maple syrup, eggs, and salt. Combine well.

Mix in chopped pecans.

Baking the Pie

Prepare the grill for indirect roasting at 375°F with strong wood smoke. If using a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill and pellet insert, the technique is as follows:

  • Remove a grill grate from the right side of the grill. Place a 2 pellet inserts in the valleys of the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer below the surface you have removed. Fill with the premium pecan wood pellets.
  • Preheat the grill with the ignition burner on LOW and the left main burner on MEDIUM. Make sure the active main burner is the one away from the pellet trays. Allow the grill temperature to settle at 375°F for about 15 minutes, adjusting the burners as needed.
  • Light the front of the row of wood pellets using a torch or paraffin cube. Once thoroughly started, blow out the fire so that the pellets continue to smolder on their own, but do not show an open flame.
  • Replace the grill grate above the pellets. The pie will be roasted directly above the pellets for maximum smoke.

Butter a 10-inch cast iron skillet on all sides.

Place the cold pie crust dough between 2 layers of plastic wrap to help keep the crust from sticking to the rolling pin, and to help keep the dough as cold as possible while you are working with it. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness and 14 inch diameter.

Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap off the crust, and gently turn it over into the buttered cast iron skillet. You should have some extra crust hanging over the edge of the pan. With the second sheet of plastic wrap still on the dough, gently press the crust into the pan so the crust is touching all sides.

Carefully remove the plastic wrap. Use the prongs of a fork to pierce the bottom of the pie crust all over so that air can be released while it is baking. Trim the crust and flute or crimp the perimeter.

Pour the pie filling into the crust and top with the remainder toasted pecan halves.

Place the pie in the indirect zone of the grill and bake for 50 minutes or until filling is set. Rotate the skillet halfway through cooking.  

Cool completely before serving.

Innovation is at the heart of every Kalamazoo product. Each part of the collection – from grills and pizza ovens to refrigeration and cabinetry – represents a significant departure from the established norm. Our passion for outdoor cooking and our fiercely independent design philosophy drive us to establish new industry benchmarks. Consequently, our list of exclusives and innovations speaks for itself.

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