March, 2014 - The Spring Issue
Spring has finally arrived after a long, snowy winter here in Kalamazoo. And while I’m a big proponent of year ‘round grilling, I’m always excited for the official grilling season to get underway. This month we are sharing two delicious recipes; the first is a tasty variation on Mexican street corn, and the second comes from a good friend of Kalamazoo, Chef Rick Bayless. Chef Bayless shares his version of the traditional Mexican dish Carne Asada; succulent ribeye steak with a flavorful marinade that includes garlic and fresh serrano chiles.
Spring is also a good excuse to give your grill a thorough cleaning. Check out our top tips to help you get your grill ready for the upcoming season.
Creamed Corn Fresca
Creamed Corn Fresca is brighter in flavor and lighter in texture than is generally expected from a more typical creamed corn; not unlike Mexican street corn. Lime and sour cream are complimented by the heat of a little jalapeno and a touch of barbecue rub. The corn in this recipe is cooked "caveman" style for ultra-sweet results, but you can grill the corn using any technique you like.
- 6 ears corn with the husks intact
- 6 tablespoons sour cream
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons Not-So-Basic Barbecue Rub
- Freshly-squeezed lime juice (1/2 to 1 lime)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
- Salt to taste
Line the solid-fuel drawer of your Kalamazoo Hybrid Grill with a single row of charcoal in each "rack."
Light the burners below the charcoal and run on high until there is a strong charcoal fire, then back the burners down to low. Once the coals are completely ashed over and about to break down, open the drawer and add the corn in the husks to the bed of coals.
Close the drawer and cook until the husks against the coals are black, about 3 minutes. Open the drawer, turn the corn about 1/3 rotation and repeat.
Do this one more time until most of the husk on each ear of corn is black. Remove from the grill and let rest for a minute or two, then shuck, removing all silk (not too difficult as much of it has burned away at this point).
While the caveman corn is cooking, combine the sour cream, melted butter, barbecue rub and 1/2 jalapeno in a bowl.
Cut the corn from the cob. Stir into the sour cream mixture along with the juice of 1/2 lime.
Test for taste. Add more jalapeno, more lime juice and/or salt as needed to achieve the desired balance. Serve warm.
Carne Asada Brava
Good friend of Kalamazoo, Chef Rick Bayless, shares his recipe for this traditional Mexican dish. He uses pungent garlic and fresh chiles in his marinade to infuse the meat with some incredible flavors, and then grills the steaks over a searing charcoal fire. Click the link to watch a video of Chef Bayless cooking this dish on his Kalamazoo Hybrid Grill in his outdoor kitchen.
- 6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 4 fresh serrano or 2 fresh jalapeno chiles, stemmed
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, plus more for the steaks
- 6 ribeye steaks about 1-inch thick (they'll weigh about 10 to 12 ounces each)
In a small ungreased skillet, roast the unpeeled garlic and the chiles over medium heat, turning occasionally, until both are soft and blotchy black in places - 5 to 10 minutes for the chiles, 10 to 15 minutes for the garlic. Cool, then peel the garlic. Place both garlic and chiles in a food processor along with the lime juice and oil. Run the machine until the mixture is as smoothly pureed as possible. Season highly with salt, usually about 1 1/2 teaspoons.
Smear the mixture over both sides of the steaks, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Light a charcoal fire and let the coals burn until they are covered with gray ash; position the grill grate and let it heat for a couple of minutes. Spray or brush the steaks on both sides with a little oil. Lay on the grill grates and let cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until the grates have nicely seared beautiful grill marks into the meat - don't attempt to move the steaks until you can see nice grill marks. Flip the steaks and cook until as done as you like (typically about 2 to 3 minutes longer for medium rare). I like to let the steaks rest for a few minutes (on a cool part of the grill, a grate suspended over the back of the grill or a very low oven) before serving to allow the meat to reabsorb all the juices. Serve with Lazy Salsa or another salsa or hot sauce of your liking.
Your Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet grill is made from high-quality 304 stainless steel and engineered for durability. Simple care and cleaning will provide a lifetime of service.
Caring for the Grilling Surface
Before each cooking session, after the grill has pre-heated, use a stiff stainless steel grill brush to clean the grilling surface.
After each cooking session, run the main burners on high with the hood closed for 10 minutes before shutting it down. This will help burn away drippings and residue on the grilling surface and in the hopper.
ALWAYS use a stainless steel bristle brush for cleaning your grilling surface. Do not use brushes or scrapers of other metals with the exception of brass. Brass grill brushes will not harm your grilling surface, but we find that stainless steel brushes last much longer and are a better investment.
NEVER use steel wool on your cooking surfaces. It will leave small amounts of mild steel behind, embedded into the grain of the stainless steel, and it will cause rust.
NEVER use chemicals to clean your grilling surface.
Special Instructions for Laser-cut Grilling Surfaces
Your laser-cut surfaces should be kept clean, dry and BLACK. Treat them as you would a cast iron skillet. The darker the finish, the better.
Before using your surfaces for the first time, they need to be seasoned with oil. Remove the cold surfaces from your grill and use a cloth rag to wipe vegetable oil over the entire surface of each side. Place the surfaces back into the grill. Light the grill and run all main burners on HIGH for about 20 minutes. The goal is to turn the surfaces brown. The more you use your grill, the more thoroughly seasoned your surfaces will become. Ideally you want your surfaces to become black and remain that way. You can re-season your surfaces at any time. Re-seasoning may be necessary if your grill sits idle for long periods of time.
Caring for the Exterior of Your Grill
The most difficult part of cleaning your grill is removing the burnt-on food and grease. Start by using a citrus-based or organic degreaser to remove everything that isn't burnt on. Next, we recommend using powdered Bar Keepers Friend with a jersey knit rag. Be careful to follow the grain direction of the stainless steel to avoid scratches. With a little elbow grease, Bar Keepers Friend will remove most stains and discoloration. For real problem areas, a Scratch-B-Gone kit can be used to restore the factory finish. After these steps, rinse off all cleaners, wait for the grill to dry, and then apply stainless steel polish.
Caring for the Interior of Your Grill
It is a good idea to occasionally burn off residue in your grill. Run the grill with the main burners on high with the hood closed for at least 30 minutes. This will burn off accumulated residue and dry everything out. The more you use sauces or grill fatty foods, the more frequently you should do this burn cycle.
To remove ash on a regular basis, pull the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer open a couple of inches and then shake it up and down to encourage any ash that has remained in the drawer to fall down into the hopper.
Occasionally, you will want to be more thorough in removing ash. We recommend that once a month you use a natural bristle painter's brush to sweep ash off all the interior surfaces of your grill. Wait until the grill is completely cool. Empty the cleanout pan before beginning. Remove the cooking surfaces, and then brush all the ash that may have remained in the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer down through the slots and into the hopper. Next, remove the drawer. Use the brush again to sweep all ash off the burners and any other surfaces down into the cleanout pan. Empty the cleanout pan again.
If you use wood in your grill, the inside of your hood is probably black. We recommend leaving it this way. However, you may choose to clean it once a year. If so, you will need to use Bar Keepers Friend (recommended) and a lot of elbow grease or a harsh oven cleaner (not recommended). If you choose to use oven cleaner: do not get it into the ceramic rotisserie burner; do not get it on ignition coils; do not get it on the electronics or wires; do not get it on the cooking surface; and do make sure you thoroughly rinse off all of the cleaner before cooking on your grill. Be careful when rinsing off the oven cleaner not to stain your patio. Again, we strongly recommend the use of Bar Keepers Friend and discourage the use of oven cleaner.
Oceanfront environments with salt air and sea spray will require regular maintenance and cleaning to prevent rust. Clean stainless steel surfaces at least two times a month to keep the chemical reaction from the salt from gaining a foothold on your equipment. With regular cleaning, your equipment will look like new for a lifetime. To achieve maximum corrosion and stain resistance, the surface of the stainless steel must be kept clean. Should some rust spots occur, they can be easily removed with Bar Keepers Friend.