“BBQ is the new Black” Scott Tait

While my Green Egg gently weeps!

While my Green Egg gently weeps!

Every year we hear that something is the new Black, “Blue” is the new Black; “Red” is the new Black. Something is always the new Black. But Black is always hanging on; it’s still the base, the thing that others are judged by. So why can’t BBQ be the new Black? It’s the base that everything started from, cooking food over flame.  Meat, I’d like to introduce you to fire, fire meet meat.

Black is a neutral. It allows your focus to be on other things and not centered on colour and frivolous components.  BBQ for me is the same.  Knowing that this is my base, it allows me to concentrate on what is important. The flavor and the taste!  It grants me the opportunity to be creative knowing I don’t have to worry about the how just the what.

Food preparation should first take place in the mind. In sports, the winners, the champions play the game first in their minds to see all the possibilities and visualize the success. That’s what you need to do with cooking, visualize the achievement, prepare for the work, and work the plan. Getting rid of the superficial and distracting lets you achieve your goal.

Think about your creative process like Google maps. Pick your start point, pick your destination, and choose the most direct route. My start point is my BBQ, my destination is the finished meal, my route is the most direct I can find. People stress and fuss over all the little stuff, I don’t.  The meal is a journey from start to finish and we are supposed to enjoy the journey in life.

So allow BBQ to be your new Black. Let it be the base or starting point of your journey and don’t allow the frivolous colour to distract you.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

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The Artisanal Grill / Now on FoodSided.com

A little smoke goes a long way!

A little smoke goes a long way!

So a new start to a new year!

Creating a new direction in life is a journey of expectation, wonderment, possibilities, and fear.  I’ve travelled this road for over a year now and lo and behold the future I see is bright. I haven’t travelled this path alone; I have the support and love of everyone I know. In addition I’m travelling it with a few friends that are on their own paths.

My concept of taking the indoors outdoors and looking at food as an offering of love and comfort seems to have spread and connected me with like thinkers and food centric renaissance people alike.  BBQ, smokers, grills or whatever you chose to call them are just extensions of your kitchen and can be utilized all year.  Conventional recipes can be updated to add flair and switched up.  How your mother made it is wonderful, but thinks about what you can turn it into if you add your own personality and skill.

So now starts the next dimension to my journey.  I am now a staff writer for FoodSided.com. FoodSided is an extension of FanSided which is dedicated to sports and sports bloggers.  Taking the same passion from their base site, FoodSided is building to become one of the most popular and searched food sites on the web. I look forward to the experience and the continuation of the journey.

I will be posting here and on FoodSided.com along with updates on Twitter and my Facebook page.

Please follow and enjoy the journey with me.

Be well and eat well!

Scott Tait

The Artisanal Grill

 

Don’t cancel your Christmas Turkey people! Take it outside Artisanal Grill Style!!

So the weather in Toronto has left us powerless and cold.  Reports are in that people are canceling orders for their Christmas Turkeys because they are afraid their electricity will be off and they can’t cook their birds.

Really?

Hard times call for creative thoughts. One of the concepts that I have been dictating for some time now is that what you can do inside you can do outside. I’ve been planning a step by step on my Christmas bird from brining to smoking, but that’s to come when I start it tomorrow. But for now as a reminder to all you Canadians out there with BBQs, you can do your bird outside. Dust the snow and ice of the grill, get out your camping stove, and make the lady at the convenience store look at you funny when you ask if they have any charcoal while everyone else is buying salt! Make this Christmas the year of the Q!

Now don’t be scared. Transform your thoughts of grilling on it. Think of your BBQ as an oven. After all, it’s a heating source.

Step 1:  Prep your bird as you would but leave out the dressing (stuffing). It’s better to do it separately.

Step 2:  Set-up your BBQ for offset cooking. Meaning if you have 2 burners, only light one of them, if you have 3, keep the center on off and light the outside ones. You want to set up a cooking environment that has no direct heat underneath the bird. Think about it. In your oven there is no direct heat source underneath the bird. Hot air circulates around it. This is what you’re doing outside.  If you’re using charcoal, place the lit coal to one side so none will be under the bird. (Note. You’ll have to add more to keep the temperature constant so have a way to light more to add to the coals and minimize the open lid time.)

Step 3:  Place a pan on the unlit area to catch the drippings. This gives you a drip pan.  Add water, wine, and whatever else you would place around the bird in the oven. This gives you the base for your gravy.

Step: 4  Bring your grill to the proper temperature (350 degrees f). An 8 to 12lb unstuffed bird should take between 3 to 4 hours cooking time. Time can vary by 30 minutes so have a thermometer ready to check internal temperature (165 degrees f). Place the bird breast side down over the drip pan.

Step: 5  Rotate your bird every 45 minutes or so to brown and cook evenly. Every grill will behave differently so pay attention and remember if you’re looking, you’re not cooking. Take some of the juices that have accumulated in the drip pan and baste. To minimize open lid time, you can create a secondary baste liquid of heated chicken stock with sautéed bacon and onions. Have it ready to go. So open the lid, turn the bird, baste the bird, and close the lid.

Step: 6  Pay attention and follow your bird’s path. Outdoor climate will affect the overall time but with patience you can create a Christmas turkey that will astound your family.

The classic French rules say that your cooked bird should stand as long as you cooked it for. I can’t do that but I will let my bird stand for at least 30 to 45 minutes after it’s out of the heat. Cover with tin foil and let the juices work their way back through the meat.  If you do this and don’t turn off your grill you’ll have plenty of time to cook your veggies, stuffing, and make your gravy on the BBQ. Remember the camping stove I mentioned? Why not use it too!

We’re Canadian folks! Don’t let a little thing like a power outage or an ice storm to make you resort to KD or cold-cuts for Christmas dinner. Take the lead, put on a sweater and get outside!

Toronto Underground Market November 2013

I had the opportunity to visit, for the first time, The Toronto Underground Market (http://www.yumtum.ca) in November. What a great event! Foodies galore, new tastes, and like-minded people who truly believe in alternative foods, preparations, and good times. It’s a movement that likes to experiment, taste, and celebrate foods in a nontraditional setting and atmosphere.

I’m looking to participate in the next one and to launch The Artisanal Grill to the world. I have some idea that I think will rock the palate and show some smoking and grilling skills.

The greatest tastes to my mouth were the Molasses Braised Pork Belly from Little Tomato and the Pulled Jerk Duck from King Catering! Others were good but my taste buds did back-flips when I had their offering!

Craft brews were abundant and the music rocked the Evergreen Brickworks!

What a night!

I whole-heartedly recommend this event the next time around. Who know’s, you might see me!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Sometimes when someone offers to take your picture, they don't run away with your camera! Thanks to the stranger that thought the shot was spectacular!

Sometimes when someone offers to take your picture, they don’t run away with your camera! Thanks to the stranger that thought the shot was spectacular!

Guy satisfaction!

Guy satisfaction!

Fidel GastroKing CateringCrossroads DinerBoots and Bourbon

Pork belly to die for!

Pork belly to die for!

Gotta love a publication that loves bacon!

Check out this months edition of Tailgater Monthly!

http://www.tailgatermonthly-digital.com/tailgatermonthly/20131112?sub_id=4MJq89CI9iQr#pg18

WooHoo!

Bacon makes everything better!

Bacon makes everything better!

“Age seldom arrives smoothly or quickly. It’s more often a succession of jerks.” Jean Rhys

Jerk Chicken wings with Mango Hot SauHeat again? I’m afraid so! As I’ve said before it’s really not about the heat, although that’s fun, it’s about the flavor and the feeling released on your senses. Jerk is one of my favourites and always has been. There is a sweetness in the fiery goodness from the All Spice, cinnamon, and brown sugar that permeates the meat to another dimension.

Spicy and sweet has always been in my arsenal. There are plenty of ready-made dry rubs out there to make your life easier but there is nothing like creating your own concoction specific to your personal taste and it’s easy.

My wings were marinated in my own rub and moistened with a little vegetable oil to spread the karma of the Caribbean. Grilled over charcoal and served with a Scotch Bonnet and mango dipping sauce smoothed out with honey and yogurt excited the mouth.   On the side, Orzo and grilled vegetable salad with toasted tortilla strips for crunch.

You have to take bland out of the equation. Good meals with interesting twists and a flavour theme keep the creative juices flowing.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

“Generally speaking, food has to be spicier than it would be if you tasted it on the ground,” Peter Jones

Hot Garlic Drumsticks with Bacon OrzoYou have to try everything. Hot, sweet, savory, strong, smokey, even weird in life. You don’t have to like everything, you just need to try it. After all, if you don’t try something you might miss your new favourite thing, a new direction, a new person, or even a new opportunity. Going through life only doing or trying what you know will never take you down new avenues. Change, stretch, break that envelope that you live in.

Food wise, hot and spicy is a good thing. It wakes up your taste buds and gives them new opportunities to experience. It might be that you aren’t a big fan and that’s OK. You tried and maybe you’ll try again. Look past the hot and see the flavour. That’s what we chili heads do.

Tonight’s offering is chicken drumsticks marinated in garlic, olive oil, and Nando’s Hot Garlic Sauce served on bacon and parmesan orzo. The drums were grilled over charcoal low and slow to keep them juicy.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” Jane Howard

Turkey Shoot 2013A Canadian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in Canada comes a month early compared to our friends in the US. Origins can be dated back to 1578 and the voyage of Martin Frobisher searching for the Northwest Passage.  Samuel de Champlain held many festival of celebration of thanks and established the Order of Good Cheer  in sharing their food with the First Nation.

At one point Upper and Lower Canada celebrated Thanksgiving at different times. After the American Revolution, refugees that remained loyal to Britain brought customs and traditions north to Canada. Its date fluctuated until 1957 when the second Monday in October became a national statutory holiday.  The theme became a celebration of the abundant harvest and thankfulness of all we are blessed with.

Our family gathering’s origin comes from an event long before my participation. During the 1960’s, my in-laws would have a fall party they entitled The Turkey Shoot. The day long party centered around the men target shooting for bragging rights and the prize of a turkey for

Thanksgiving. Its day had long passed and would have probably remained a memory if not for the creativity of my brother-in-law. We decided in 1989 to make Thanksgiving our event and resurrected The Turkey Shoot. Christmas would be for our immediate nest, but Thanksgiving would be the whole family, extended, girlfriends and boyfriends, friends, dogs, basically everybody that makes us who we are. There would be no presents and no expectations other than being together to be together. We would eat, and eat well, have drinks, tell stories and rehash laughs and tears, sit up too late around the fire and just be us. I have to say in 24 years I have no memory of disagreements, attitudes or fights. I am very proud of us all. Understand that some years have been good with new arrivals and life events; others have not been so good.  People, important people, loved ones that have been with us and should still be with us are gone in body but still sitting around the fire with us. Our Thanksgiving is about family.

We have our target competition, horseshoe pitch, archery, and have even taken to setting Chinese lanterns into the sky late at night with messages to those that we wish were there.

I can talk about the food but we’ll let the pictures do that. There’s not a lot of late evening photos because no one really wants to see us dancing to Journey or rolling downhill off an unbalanced chair. Actually you probably do but what happens at the farm stays at the farm.

To all my friends, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. To all south of the border and anticipating yours, I wish you happiness and the warm embrace of your family and friends.Fall in Northern Ontario

The Farm
Juuust a bit outside!TailgateFire Good!Turkey Spit

Beautiful

“Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference. “ Albert Einstein (probably not!)

Spatchcock?  Really?

Wikipedia defines spatchcock or “spattlecock” as, “poultry or game that has been prepared for roasting or grilling by removing the backbone, and sometimes the sternum of the bird and flattening it out before cooking.  So now that you know, let’s just call it flattened or butterflied.  Do we have to give outlandish names to simple acts? Do I go for a meander? Do I quaff beverages? No I go for walks and I drink beer.  We like to attach big words to simple tasks. Confucius said, “Life is simple but we insist on making it complicated.”

So Butterflied Chicken! This method is wonderfully tasty and keeps the chicken moist with another dimension added.

After cutting out the backbone, flatten the chicken and pull, but don’t break, the skin from the flesh.  Mix together ricotta cheese with sage, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, onion, and salt and pepper. You want enough ricotta to cover the chicken and enough herbs and garlic to satisfy your taste buds. Loosen up this mixture with a little olive oil and pack it under the skin of the chicken. Massage the whole bird with olive oil, garlic powder and salt and pepper.

Place the bird offset over your preferred outdoor appliance with a drip tray underneath (water filled), to catch the drippings. I used the #BGE with the extension grill and the water filled drip pan underneath.

The ricotta (#trestelle) kept the chicken moist and added a surprise under the skin that seasoned the chicken. The bird was served on Roasted Tomato Linguini. Tasty!

So as an effectual stratagem to develop an enticing aftermath, the spatchcock technique is a convention that I would advocate!

In other words, try it, it works! Isn’t that easier!

Be well and eat well.

Scott

Spatchcock chicken

When the spatch hits the fan

 

Ricotta stuffed Spatchcock Chicken on Roasted Tomato Linguini

Ricotta stuffed Spatchcock Chicken on Roasted Tomato Linguini