“Everything in life has an end. Only sausages have two.” German Proverb

It’s been awhile since I posted and I apologize. The house is up for sale and the focus has been on family and stuff.

But tonight, smoke prevailed.

Smoked Sausage with Bacon and Cheese MacSausage is the Picasso of the stuffed meat world. Sausage can be anything you care to mix into the grinder. Different meats, spices, even fruits. I use to get a chicken and pineapple sausage at St Lawrence Market that was to die for. I make a duck sausage stuffing for the turkey at Christmas time. Sausage I believe is as limited as your imagination.

Tonight was a Sea Salt and Black Pepper sausage slow smoked with maple. Nothing fancy in the taste just the flavour of the wood permeating the casing of the lovingly encased pork tubes. Sexy Eh?

Try spraying the sausages with juice, beer, or Coke as they cook. It makes the outer casing firm up while the insides stay moist and juicy. Never poke or break the outer rim. You want to keep all the moisture inside the sausage while cooking. They dry out when you cut or poke.

So what to serve with it. Imaging a bacon and cheese pasta casserole. Ok it was homemade mac and cheese without the elbows. Penne stood in as the elbows were previously occupied.

Smoky love prevailed. Cheesy infatuation was wafting in the air and the trolls in the house disappeared into a food coma. It was a good night.

More frequent posts are on their way along with worldly observations and foodie comments. Maybe some words about moving a house after 23 years of residence too!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

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“I’ve been on so many blind dates I should get a free dog.” Whitney M. Young, Jr.

I love the food blogging thing. It introduces me to new tastes, new people and new products. One of the benefits and surprises is when you get an email supporting your efforts and offering you support. I keep saying that food is love and I still maintain that Stone Grilled Date and Goat cheese stuffed Chicken breastsphilosophy.  There are things you like and don’t like and it’s not until you try them that you find out.

This month Medjool Dates sent me an email and offered me product to do something with, anything I want!  What could be better than that? Well, I’m still waiting on the liquor companies! Hint, hint!

What can I do with dates on a BBQ? Actually, what can’t I do? You have to get down to thinking with flavours in mind. I was introduced to serving cheese with fresh honey on the side as an accent. The smoothness and bite of a strong cheese offset with a burst of sweetness. It was something I first had in Las Vegas as an appetizer and then ordered it again as dessert. Cheese is and has always been my favourite dessert.

Remembering the flavours I came up with the creation for the grill. Chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and dates. Pockets were sliced in the breasts and stuffed with the diced dates mixed with goat cheese that had been smoothed with a little olive oil, then rubbed with olive oil and seasoned for the grill. That would be my granite grill.

Then the appetizer dates stuffed with mascarpone, rosemary and wrapped in prosciutto.  Since everything here was already cooked, they only spent minutes on the grill to crisp up the prosciutto and warm the cheese.

So maybe a little too much date for one meal but when you’re exploring tastes I don’t believe there is too much. I adapted the stuffed dates later in the week. Having run out of prosciutto, I crisped up some bacon, blended it with the mascarpone and stuffed those wonderful little taste explosions.  Imagine the sweetness of the date offset with a little smoky bacon and the perfume of rosemary.

It’s all about exploring flavours.Date Stuffed Chicken breasts with golden honey rice

Be well and eat well

Scott

BARBEQUE COMES TO THE BEACH!

So the weekend that was was spectacular!  For the 6th year straight, the air smelled of smoke, the grills were sizzling and the beer was flowing. Music transcended the days and night, and community and visitors occupied Woodbine Parks grass and grounds.  It Beach BBQ and Brew Festivalwas a great way to spend the Father’s Day weekend.

Teams from the US set-up their massive rigs and started burning cherry, hickory, and mesquite woods to begin the low and slow process of everything that is true BBQ. This year the CSBBQA sanctioned the Amateur Ribbers contest. It was wonderful to see dedicated Canadian teams entering the arena and offering up their versions of traditional BBQ.

Friday started with the Firefighters Command Cook-off. Each team was given a t-bone and a beef strip loin. The T-bone had to stay pure to judge their grill technique. Grill marks, taste and tenderness were the key. The loin however was free form and whatever they wanted to create as their side accompaniments was limited by their creative minds. I had the pleasure of being one of the judges and quite honestly, the competition was so close that there was no clear run away from the pack. The four teams represented the North, South, East, and West from the Firefighters community. Every team produced amazing plates, but as always, there needs to be a winner. The West pulled it out with Vlad’s clean and smooth presentation,flavours, and his grilling skills.

Saturday was Grilling Tent time. Ted Reader, Tonia Wilson, and I took to the stage to offer technique, ideas, and advice on how toLet's talk Fatty add some creative twists to the grilling scene. As always, Ted took the crowd through his unique and entertaining recipes and showed why he truly is the King of the Q.  Tonia brought creative sauces and a how to on transforming a boring flank steak giving it life, flavour, and taste. Me, I decided to introduce the crowd to a Fatty. Sausage meat, stuffed with cheese and rolled in a weave of bacon.  Everything disappeared!

Last day, Sunday, were the 2 competitions. The CSBBQA Amateur Ribber Competition and the North American Ribber Competition. I had the pleasure of judging the NA group. All the vendors that there present during the 3 day presented, served ribs, and this year an additional twist. They were asked to serve something out of the box but still utilizing the grills and their BBQ skills. Burritos, sliders, flat bread and pizza creations were all outstanding, not to mention their ribs. Bernie from Camp 31 MC’d the event and showed not only his BBQ knowledge, but his fun and skills at entertaining a crowd.  Ribs and the alternate were served every hour for 6 hours and I was looking for a place to crash as my food coma started kicking in. The winner was Swine Fellows with Jamie and Zack earning the trophy. Honourable mention to all, Bibbs, Hawgs Gone Wild, Camp 31, and Sticky Fingers. Your skills and food were off the cuff!

Chef ToniaThe first Beach BBQ and Brew Fest CSBBQA Ribbers Competition winners were White Bread BBQ. I wished I could have tried your stuff but I was a little full from the rest of the day. Congratulations guys!

I haven’t mentioned the music, the crowd, or the craft beer because if you weren’t there, you missed it. It was all phenomenal!

At the end of the day you realise what the BBQ is all about, community, good food, and fun. The phrase there is no bad BBQ came up during the day and I completely agree. If you like it, if it makes you feel good and you’re having a good time, then its good BBQ.

Kudos to Jen and Jeremy for the organization and the weekend, well done!

Hope to see you hear next year!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

 

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Can you Smellllll! What the Beach is Smokingggg!

Hey everybody!

This weekend is the Beach BBQ and Brew Festival.
Great Food, great music, and great craft beers!
I’ll be doing a demonstration at the Grilling Tent at 5pm on Saturday June 14.
It’s a wonderful day and a great way to spend Fathers Day!
I hope to see you there!

Festival Hours
Friday June 13th 3:00pm-11:00pm
Saturday June 14th 12:00pm-11:00pm
Sunday June 15th 12:00pm-8:00pm

http://beachbbqandbrews.com/

Woodbine Park is located just north of the Beaches Boardwalk on the North-East Corner of Lakeshore Blvd East and Coxwell Avenue.

Too much smoke! Just a little! What I do for my art!

Too much smoke! Just a little! What I do for my art!

Beach BBQ and Brews Festival! Saturday June 14th Grilling Tent Schedule!

Here is the schedule for the Grilling Tent Demonstrations at the Beach BBQ and Brews Festival!

Saturday June 14th – Grilling Demos
1:00PM – Chef Ted Reader
2:00PM – Chef Chris Doepner
3:00PM – Chef Ted Reader
4:00PM – Tonia Wilson
5:00PM – Scott Tait

http://beachbbqandbrews.com/

Hope to see you there on Saturday!

Be Well and Eat Well!

Scott

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“Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.” Robert C. Gallagher

Getting tired of the same old same old. I’ve tried all my life to keep things interesting. I’ve skydived, taken improv classes, sushi preparation, swing and tango dancing, got a tattoo, travelled by myself, started 2 businesses, and even ran a 5k (not that I could today). I’ve studied fencing, tai chi, kung fu, aikido, and meditated in a Buddhist temple. So now I’m in need of something else? What it is eludes me.

Habanero and garlic chickenI think that’s why I like to cook. I can keep it different, experiment, and travel the world without moving from my backyard. Maybe I just remedied my own conundrum; I am in need of some travel.

So what have you tried lately? Where have you travelled too? Burgers don’t cut it but teriyaki burgers do! Grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts, no! Prosciutto wrapped thighs stuffed with provolone and sun dried tomatoes, yes!

Taking a trip from the regular keeps it interesting and lets you explore your creativity. Watch a new cooking show and get some ideas. Pick up a magazine, ask your mom for some recipes, look at everything in your cupboard and figure out a new way to put it together, have fun!

At New Years a friend gave me a roasted garlic and habanero herb mix and I have been staring at it for 4 months. This past weekend I decided to stop ignoring and take it for a little dance. The mix with oregano, olive oil and softened butter made a wonderful rub both on and under the skin on a whole chicken.

Take a chance, do something different, get rid of the same old same old!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Twitter @artisanalgrill

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“Your Honor, Not only do I intend to prove that my client is guilty but also that he is innocent of not being guilty.” – Lionel Hutz (The Simpsons)

They're finally off my backA few weeks back I did what I thought was a nice thing. My neighbour’s daughter was turning 21 and they were having a party for her. She asked me for some direction on how to do pulled pork. I gave her ideas on how to create a rub and volunteered to put it on my Big Green Egg for the cook and smoke time. The results were wonderful and the accolades she received from her family were abundant. My neighbour did all the work; I just took care of the smoking part.

So why the dissertation? From the day that I sent wonderful smells and aromas through the backyard and my house I have received nothing but grief! My family and girlfriend “assumed” I would steal away a small taste for them. They were wrong! All 10 pounds found their way inside a tin foil blanket and was sent to the party. For the past 3 weeks I have heard nothing but their cries. “You teased us!” “You couldn’t save just a taste for me?” “When are you doing a shoulder for us?” The pulled pork fix was in. It was like living with addicts waiting for their dealer to get back from holidays.

Last night the cries of the disallowed were silenced. He madding throng received their fix!

Pulled pork has gotten so much press over the past few years that you would think people would tire of it but there seems to be no slow deceleration of its popularity.

A pork shoulder rubbed and slowly smoked over hickory wood with a sauna of beer and apple juice underneath it doesn’t lose its vogue. Additionally neither does slaw and potato salad.

The slaw was made with a sherry vinegar, Dijon, and mayonnaise. The potato salad with yogurt, honey, onion and jalapeno gave it a sharp yet light taste. Try yogurt instead of mayo next time.

I’m happy that my family loves my pulled pork, actually they like all my creations. But if it was up to them it would be a weekly if not daily effort on my part.

Be well and eat well!

Scott Tait

The Artisanal Grill

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On Twitter @artisanalgrill 

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”” Robin Williams

First burger of the seasonThere it is! It’s over! The fat lady has sung!……Hopefully?

There’s an anomaly that happens on my street. There is maybe one foot of ice and snow left in my backyard along one fence. I can see what will be grass in the next few weeks. The spring smell of damp decaying leaves and plants that were omitted from the fall racking has hit my olfactory and the raccoon that has been living under the tarp at the back of my yard is having his eviction notice served. Yet when I look in my neighbours backyard they still have fence to fence snow and ice. Maybe the gods smile on me and not them or maybe I have a military stockpile of nuclear weapons buried there. I don’t know why but it makes me smile.

The covers have never been on the BBQs all winter. Smoke and fire has been offered to the gods on a regular basis and my neighbours jealously drool a few times a week. The best part of spring is here, the start!

So the big decision you have is What’s First? What am I going to create?

Remember your last meal outside last fall? Did you love it? Would you change it up? Would you try something new and exciting? What’s your favourite thing to do on your grill?

Though burgers are mainstream and everybody does them, I took the lead from my kids and went for the obvious. However, my burgers aren’t the frozen hockey pucks from the local grocery store. Medium ground mixed with Italian sausage meat, onions, and roasted garlic topped with old cheddar and bacon.

I roasted off red pepper rings and used them as a border for some homemade guacamole. All this on my granite grilling stones. Take a look and try not to drool!

There are some great tips on the internet about how to clean and prep your grills for the start of the season. If you’ve been using it like me all winter, then you clean and wipe it down on a regular basis. If it’s been sitting since your last burger in the fall, take some time with it. Check the lines, check the plenums, check for anything that has decided to take residence in it, and give it a good clean.

So start your grills my friends. The season is here.

Be well and eat well.

Scott
Burgers on the stones

“Life is all about timing… the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable… attainable. Have the patience, wait it out. It’s all about timing.” Stacey Charter

Green Egg and SmokeA million years ago man discovered fire. To say man invented fire is a bit of a misnomer. It’s like saying man invented water or air. Maybe you can argue that he discovered a way to produce fire, but invented, no.  I’m still at a loss to figure out why he would put his hunted provisions on it. Maybe it was accidental in its discovery.   Caveman Dave left his hunter gatherer score on a hot rock by the fire and was astounded by the smell and aroma that hit his olfactory and taste buds!  Basic grilled meats are invented!

We should be happy Caveman Dave stumbled on the combination of meat and fire. I think this was bigger than the wheel! When was the last time you ate a wheel?  There are so many variations of fire cooking in the world thanks to a discovery a million years ago that we should take a good look at all of them.

I’ve been pushing this view because we get locked into the routines of daily life. When I became a single provider I strived to keep it interesting for my kids. We could have lived on take-out, prepackaged frozen concoctions, or bacon and eggs. I’m thankful that my sense kicked in and I decided to take the initiative regarding cooking. I’ve tried to teach them (and anyone that will listen) to take an extra twenty minutes and make the spaghetti sauce, buy the beans and make the chili instead opening a can, make the soup, bake the bread, cut out the ordering in.

My twist is the fire. Smoke billows to the sky, smells hit the neighbourhood and I’m outside. The grills take preparation beyond turning a dial to a set heat. They take nurturing and caressing to make sure they keep their temperature and don’t flare.  You have to take your time and pay attention. You walk away, things burn, Ovens and microwaves have ruined the art of preparing a meal. Meat needs a rub, wood has to be chosen, timing has to be focused, and love needs to be instilled.

The quote I started this with is something I live by. Life is about timing, patience, and looking forward to what’s coming. Food has been a building block on which I  base my daily life. Have an idea of what you want to create, make sure you have the ingredients, and take action. It will either work or not but at least you put your effort into it. Fast food has no soul; it fills a hole but ends up creating a black hole in your nutrition and your life. Cooking, grilling, smoking, all of it takes patience and in the end gives you a sense of accomplishment and a warm hug to those around you.

What are you cooking tonight? Does it have heart? Did you put your soul in it? Why not?

Be well and eat well!

Scott Tait

The Artisanal Grill

“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” Chinese Proverbs

Stone grilled shrimpStones have been used for centuries as a cooking surface and can be traced to Mongolian, Korean, and Japanese roots. Its solid form distributes the heat evenly for a uniform cooking experience and is easily cleaned and maintained for repeated use.

The Artisanal Grilling Stone can be used on your BBQ or heated in the oven and used to cook in front of your friends and family.

Made of solid granite and sized at 40 x 20 x 2cm (15.75 x 7.87 x 7/8 inches) it can more than handle whatever your meal requires.

Meats, fish, vegetables, and even pizza become a new adventure as you expand your cooking and grilling repertoire. The Artisanal Grilling Stone will become a mainstay in your grilling arsenal as people wonder over your creativity and style.

Can be used:

  • On grills – gas, charcoal and open flame.
  • In conventional and convection ovens,
  • Under the broiler.
  • To turn a grill into an outdoor oven.

It can:

  • Can withstand high temperatures.
  • Cut directly on the glazed stone without concern about damaging or scratching the surface.
  • Easy to clean with soap and water and is dishwasher safe.
  • (not recommended for stove-top use)

Click here to start your journey!

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Granite Grilling Stone 3

Granite Grilling Stone 1