Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 1 - Honey Butter, hamburgers and grilled onions

Greetings...Well, here is a project I have been contemplating for awhile. Last year, my wife and I have started fixing up our patio. We covered the concrete slab in 90% of the homes in our neighborhood, and set bricks to form a large circle. Enough room to have a seating area, with table that seats 6 comfortably (and 8 slightly less comfortably), covered with a pergola. This year, we added another circle for a firpit area that seats 4 (14 if you bring all the chairs we have surround the pit). Next year, my wife has promised that I will get my built in dream cooking area circle, with space for my smoker, grill, storage, small refrigerator and running water. Not gonna lie, the expense is pretty high. when all is said and done, I will have over $12,000 sunk into the project. So, when I am ready, I am going to spend a year on my grill/smoker/patio in order to justify the costs...and to get better.

But until that time comes, I am going to start dedicating myself to get better. I have always been a bit of a foodie. I love to eat out, and have eaten in some of the finest restaurants in the world. But also, I love to entertain and cook. I can follow a recipe with the best of them, but recently I have started adding my own touches to make things to my tastes.

So, until I start my year on the grill, I am slowly going to learn to get better. Funny thing about smokers (Bar-B-Quers)...If a recipe says to cook ribs 6-8 hours, the best smokers will try their best to cook them 8 hours or longer (without over cooking them). On days when I cook for just my wife and I, I was looking for a way to cook fast. Burgers were cooked on the stove on high heat, and I tried to spend a s little time as possible in the kitchen. Well, no more.

I can do better...

I can cook better...

My food can taste better...

Today I started with a small step...Honey Butter.

Recipe is simple,

1 pound butter, softened (I used lightly salted butter)

1 cup honey (we have a local beekeeper that I buy fresh honey from...good quality ingrediants do count)

1 tablespoon of vanilla (again, quality counts, buy the good Mexican vanilla)

Pretty, simply, put in a bowl and mix until smooth. I am blesse with a kitchenaid heavy duty mixer, so I let it do ALL the work.

I use my honey butter alot. Later this week, I will get out the bread machine. But also, I like to use this on the grill.

Put a couple spoonfuls in a small glass bowl and set on the side of the grill to melt. Preheat your grill HOT. While it is heating, take a potato, cut it in half and coat it with canola oil. Rub this patato over the grate and coat it well. The combination of the preheated HOT grill and the oil will get you those pretty grill marks on whatever you are cooking. Cut some red onion slices ...pretty thick, about 1/4 inch thick. slap them on the hot grill, and either turn the heat down to medium (gas grill), or turn the grate for indirect heat if you are using coal. Take a silicone brush, and coat the top of the onion with some of the melted honey butter. Let the butter melt and flow inbetween the onion rings on it's own. Just leave them for about 10 minutes. Mean while, take your hamburger patties and slap them on the grill. Direct heat area will be best, but again, use the medium setting on the grill. Take your brush and again, spread some of the honey butter on the hamburger. Let this butter melt into your patty. After about ten minutes, turn the onion. Turn em fast, as they will slide off your spatula, and I have lost many falling into the coals through the grate trying to be careful. Fast will keep the rings together. Once turned, you will see those beautiful grill marks. Take your brush and coat the now tops with the butter and let them cook for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, check your burgers. They will probably need to be flipped. If you like a well done burger, wait a bit, but for the perfect medium burger, they should be ready to flip. Once flipped, again, you should have those great grill marks. OK, coat the top again with the butter. If you know you want some BBQ sauce, now is the time to top it and let those flavors soak in. Personally, I like the taste of the butter on my first burger, and I have that plain with an onion slice. My second, I doctor with sauce and some relish and the onion.

The onions are so sweet now you can eat them right off the grill...The best.

OK, that ended day one...see you for day two for a killer grilled meatloaf...


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