May, 2013 — Memorial Day Recipes
Memorial Day marks the official start of “grilling season,” and Kalamazoo’s here to help you celebrate with some new Memorial Day Barbecue recipes. Start your party off right with our Rustic Gazpacho. Tomatoes and peppers are blistered on the grill, then blended with a host of other fresh ingredients. The result: a refreshing, chilled soup that’s perfect for the warmer weather. Homemade Sweet Potato and Beet Chips do their best to steal the show, but the hero of the meal will prevail: Bacon Bison Burgers. Smoky bacon and lean bison are mixed together right into the patty. Topped with cheese, pickles and Secret Sauce, they are a perfect way to celebrate the holiday with friends and family.
Right after Bell’s Oberon hit tap handles in Michigan this spring, my good friend Kevin Adkins sent me his brilliant concoction, the Oberon Flip. It incorporates the perfect blend of refreshing craft beer and bright citrus flavors. I recommend you give it a try on a warm, sunny day.
- 3/4 ounce Oberon
- 3/4 ounce freshly-squeezed orange juice
- 1 1/2 ounces bourbon
- 1 egg white
- 1 dash blood orange bitters (optional)
- 1 large, thin slice of orange peel
Rub the orange peel around the rim of a cocktail glass and then toss it in the glass as garnish.
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake for 20 seconds. (I suggest you stop after 5 seconds, crack open the shaker to release some of the pressure, and then continue.)
Add ice and shake for 20 more seconds to chill.
Strain into the cocktail glass and enjoy! If you start with a particularly sweet orange, you may wish to add an extra dash of bitters.
Rustic Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp
I call this gazpacho “rustic” for two reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, you have the fire-roasted flavor of the tomatoes and peppers. Secondly, I leave the tomatoes unpeeled, because frankly I think peeling them is a waste of time. However, if you find the texture of tomato skins objectionable, by all means feel free to peel them. The Serrano pepper adds a mildly spicy kick, but for a more intense heat, you can use three. You can make this soup as little as three hours in advance or as many as 24. The leftovers will also keep very well. I suggest grilling the shrimp immediately before serving. This soup also pairs marvelously with some grilled bread.
For the Gazpacho
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 poblano chile
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 pounds large heirloom tomatoes, slightly seeded and diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 Serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large cucumber, diced
- 12 fresh basil leaves
For the Shrimp
- 12 shrimp (16 to 20 count size)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried chopped garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon dried chopped shallots
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Prepare the grill for direct grilling over high heat, preferably over a small-but-hot charcoal fire. If you have a Kalamazoo veggie surface, build the fire below it. The grape tomatoes can go directly onto the vegie surface without falling through. If you don't have one, skewer the grape tomatoes. Grill them until they’re blistered but not losing their shape. Grill the poblano and red pepper until the skins are black on all sides.
Place the poblano and red pepper in a bowl and cover with a plate to seal in the steam. Let rest like this for 5 minutes, then use a knife to scrape off the charred skins. Discard the skins, stems and seeds. Roughly chop the flesh and place in the carafe of a blender or food processor. Add the grilled grape tomatoes, half of the heirloom tomatoes, half of the onion, and all of the Serrano, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar and salt. Blend until smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a non-reactive bowl. Gently stir in the remaining tomato and onion, plus the cucumber. Cover and refrigerate for 3-to-24 hours.
Before serving, grill the shrimp. Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a medium-hot fire, preferably charcoal once again.
Combine the ingredients for the shrimp rub in a spice mortar, or a spinning-blade-style coffee grinder reserved for blending spices. Grind the spice blend to a fine powder. The reason we go through this effort is because the dried, chopped garlic and shallots retain more flavor than the pre-ground options available.
Peel and devein the shrimp, partially butterflying them in the process. Leave the tails on. Brush the shrimp with olive oil and season liberally with the spice blend.
Grill the shrimp over direct heat until they are cooked through, about 4 minutes total. The key is to keep an eye on the deepest part of the slice down the back of the shrimp. As soon as that area becomes opaque, remove the shrimp from the grill.
Take the gazpacho out of the refrigerator and test for taste. Adjust the seasoning with salt and/or sherry vinegar as needed. Ladle the chilled gazpacho into 6 bowls. Chiffonade the basil leaves and sprinkle evenly over the individual bowls of soup. Add a pair of shrimp while they are still hot from the grill to each bowl and serve immediately.
Bacon Bison Burgers
While in Charleston earlier this year, I had the pleasure of visiting The Bar at Husk. Their burger is awesome! They are one of many places that blend bacon into the beef in their burgers, but their specimen is the best I have had. I’ve been thinking about the blend ever since, and have finally pulled together a recipe to share with you. In this version, I use lean bison that adds an incredible delicate flavor, mixed with apple wood-smoked bacon. The toppings are quite simple to let the smoky, grilled flavor of the meat really shine. Some high-quality butter pickles, a little secret sauce and some cold-packed cheddar are all you need to complete this phenomenal burger.
- 1/2 pound good quality apple wood-smoked bacon
- 2 1/2 pounds ground bison
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt
- 18 good quality butter pickles
- 6 golden hamburger buns
- Cold-packed cheddar cheese
For the Secret Sauce
- 2 green onions, light green and medium green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- A pinch of fine sea salt
Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a medium-hot fire, preferably a charcoal fire.
Finely chop the bacon with a knife so that it is similar in texture to the ground bison. Gently mix the chopped bacon into the bison. Use caution not to overwork the meat blend, or the texture of the finished burgers will not be as desirable. Divide the mixture into 6 equal parts and form into patties slightly larger than the hamburger buns. Recess the centers of the patties so that when they plump up they take on a flat profile (thank you Bobby Flay for the tip). Brush the patties lightly with olive oil and season generously with salt.
Let the burger patties rest for a few minutes while you prepare the buns and the Secret Sauce. For the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients. For the buns, brush them generously with olive oil on the cut sides and season lightly with salt.
Grill the burgers directly over the fire until cooked to medium-well (170°F), about 4 minutes per side. It is important to cook to at least medium-well because of the bacon worked into the mixture. After the burgers have been flipped, top each with a spoonful of cold-packed cheddar cheese. (Note: cold-packed cheddar cheese has some of the mild “cheeseburger flavor” qualities of American cheese, but it is real cheese and has a bit more character.)
While the cheese is melting, lightly grill the hamburger buns.
Spread a little secret sauce and add a few pickle slices to the bottom half of each bun. Add the burgers and the top of the buns and serve. These burgers are incredibly flavorful – no additional condiments should be necessary.
Homemade Sweet Potato and Beet Chips
One of the great things about cooking outdoors is keeping odors and mess out of the house, and frying is a great example. These homemade chips are fresh and delicious, and much more delicate than a bagged chip could ever be. Without worrying about shipping damage, you are free to make these chips super thin on the mandolin.
- 2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
- 2 large beets, scrubbed clean
- About 32 ounces peanut oil
- Fine sea salt
Remove the tips from the potatoes. Slice them using a very thin setting on a mandolin slicer. I use the 0.5mm setting on my mandolin. Place the slices into a bowl of cold water as you go. Remove the tips from the beets and discard the greens. Slice them and place them in a separate bowl of cold water.
Heat the oil in a large cast iron Dutch oven over high heat. A Dutch oven is perfect for frying because it holds a lot of heat which minimizes the cooling of the oil with each batch of chips. Heat the oil to 350°F. Use a candy/oil thermometer clipped to the side of the pot to monitor the temperature.
Fry the sweet potatoes separately from the beets in small batches so that you don’t overload the oil. Transfer a small batch of slices from the cold water to the hot oil, being careful to drip as little water as possible into the oil. Fry them until the bubbling stops or significantly slows, then remove immediately with a wire basket spoon. Each batch should require less than a minute. Spread the cooked chips onto a wire rack topped with paper towels. While the next batch is cooking, season the cooling batch with sea salt.
Once cool, keep the chips in an airtight container until serving time.
Kalamazoo Named “The Best Gas Grill in the World”
Author: Derrick Riches
Derrick Riches of About.com recently traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan to experience our Hybrid Fire Grills first-hand. It is quite clear in his updated review for the Kalamazoo K750HT Freestanding Grill that he was impressed with the quality and performance of our products. It was a real pleasure cooking with Derrick that snowy morning in our parking lot, and we are happy to share his review.
Top 10 Gas Grills above $4,000 for 2013
These are the best of the best of gas grills on the market
The Kalamazoo K750HT is the best gas grill in the world. It is also the most expensive (other than the larger 4-burner version). This is not, however a status symbol grill. I would certainly not like to see this sitting, unused on the patio of some hedge fund manager. There are products that command respect because of their name, but lack the function or capabilities to fulfill their promises. This is not one of those. Only people who truly know grills and outdoor cooking, know how good this grill is. It is designed for those who love to cook. It is the ultimate culinary luxury in the outdoor world...
The cooking system of this grill is unlike anything else I have cooked on.
There are very good grills for a tenth the price. There are a dozen companies making great, comparably sized gas grills for half the price. Is this one twice as good as they are? I've spend a month thinking about this very question and I have to say, that it is worth it. The cooking system of this grill is unlike anything else I have cooked on. The heat is intense, the versatility is simply amazing, and the results are phenomenal. Yes, this is a luxury product that most of us will never own, but it is worth aspiring too.