Summer is here, and that means it’s the perfect time to fire up the barbecue and turn outdoor patios and decks into nightly dining rooms. But with all the choices summer brings, finding the perfect and unique grill-able dish and beverage pairing can be overwhelming.
It’s all about remembering the rules of the game, says three-time James Beard winning Seattle Chef and Restaurant Owner Tom Douglas.
“Grilling is a sport,” he said. “It’s all about remembering your rules, creating dishes that are guaranteed to please and being the best grill-master in your neighborhood.”
Fire up the barbecue! Chef @TomDouglasCo reveals sizzling summer grill tips & wine pairings
- Game Plan: Grilling is a sport, and a last minute one at that, so focus on what you need to prep and have it all with you at the grill. This way, when you’re finished you can plate and serve from the grill.
- Temperature and Digital Thermometer: Temperature, inside the grill and inside the food, is the most important thing when it comes to grilling. Safety is always key, but ensuring your food isn’t overcooked will help you become your neighborhood grill-master.
- Make sure your kettle thermometer is properly working
- Invest in an accurate digital thermometer to test meat temperatures
- Know your grill: Whether charcoal or gas, there are temperature variations. So figure out hot and cold areas of your grill before the big party.
- Layer flavors: Grilling is all about being a better cook than your neighbor and I guarantee that layering your flavors will help you get there.
- Flavor should be built upon from the ingredient to the plate
- Season your base meats and vegetables well
- Let the charcoal or smoke build upon that
- Create additional sauces to caramelize flavors and add something new and surprising
- Be creative: Use what is in season and around you, like fresh vegetables, herbs and spices. Try out a new sauce. Create your own rub, which is easy to do. Just play around with it and have fun.
Rules are one thing, but many at-home chefs also struggle with ingredients and pairing beverages as well, but even this is can be made easy, Douglas said.
Look for what is in season locally at your grocer or farmer’s market for the freshest ingredients, he added. When it comes to pairing the drinks, many people think barbecue and head straight for beer or cocktails, but wine pairs extremely well with barbecue and can make throwing your next dinner much simpler.
“Wine has flavors that pair perfectly with barbecue, if you think about it,” Douglas said. “Fresh produce, this time of year has natural bright acids and sugars. When we caramelize those or almost any kind of meat or seafood over an open flame, we pick up great smoky, char-notes. It’s not unlike some of the characteristics of red wine that has been aged in oak. They toast the inside of the barrels and those same smoky, char-notes come out in Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. So, for me, wine is a natural pairing for barbecue.”
Pulling from what’s in season, Tom’s simple recipes and wine pairings are guaranteed crowd pleasers for your next barbecue.
Grilled, wild-caught King salmon with asparagus and fresh radish and pea salad
In the Pacific Northwest wild-caught salmon is back in season and a great dish for summer grilling. But remember to think of our fisheries, so I recommend purchasing wild-caught salmon. The center cuts are used for the grill as they are the most-tender, but smoke up the tails for other uses like smoked-salmon dip. Salmon is naturally rich in flavor, so keep it simple with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon. With the bright lemon and simple preparation, pair a crisp, but bright fruit white wine like Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling.
Ancho BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Cheese, Tomato, and Guacamole
This dish is all about layering flavors, from the Rub with Love Smoky BBQ rub (or make your own rub with hints of cumin, garlic, and smoked paprika) to the full flavor of my Rub with Love Ancho & Molasses Barbecue Sauce which caramelizes onto the boneless, skinless chicken thighs while they absorb all those wonderful charcoal grill flavors. Chicken thighs are among your best bets for grilling as they stay moist and it’s almost impossible to overcook them. Pair the complex, layered flavors of the sandwich with those in the Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot. The ripe fruits, hints of earthiness and supple tannins with smoke notes are perfectly suited.
Spice rubbed Flat Iron Steak with Crispy Shallots
Flat iron steaks are a great value and they’re the second-most tender cut on the steer. Rub them with Douglas’ Rub with Love Steak Rub, which has smoky, ancho chili, garlic and rosemary overtones, or make your own rub to taste. The fatty proteins in the steak charred on the grill, go well with the bold tannins and oak on the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
About Tom Douglas
Tom Douglas, along with his partners Jackie Cross and Eric Tanaka, is the Seattle based chef-owner of a sizeable group of 19 successful and diverse businesses and the recreational cooking school, Hot Stove Society. The company also runs a catering business and a product line, Rub with Love. In eastern Washington, Prosser Farm, under Jackie’s direction, seasonally yields 50,000 pounds of organically grown produce for the restaurants. Tom is the author of four cookbooks, including James Beard award winning Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen and New York Times Bestseller, The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. Often described as the chef who put Seattle on the culinary map, Tom has earned national recognition for cooking global cuisine with regional ingredients. In 2012, The James Beard Foundation honored Tom with his third James Beard award, this time for Outstanding Restaurateur. In the same year, Puget Sound Business Journal chose Tom as “Executive of the Year.” Douglas has also spent decades giving back to the community as a board member of Food Lifeline, an organization working to end hunger in western Washington. Visit http://tomdouglas.com.
About Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is the third largest premium wine company in the U.S. The company, located outside of Seattle, Wash., has a distinguished history that dates back 80 years to 1934. Wines under the Ste. Michelle label were first introduced in 1967, and since that time the company has expanded its vineyard holdings to more than 3,900 acres in Washington, Oregon and California. Today its ‘String of Pearls’ wine portfolio represents owned or imported brands that demonstrate the producers’ unwavering commitment to creating distinctive, high quality wines from authentic estate vineyards, including Eroica Wines, Northstar Winery and Columbia Crest. For more information on Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, please visit http://www.smwe.com. For more information on the wines featured here please visit:http://www.smwe.com/downloads/bundleDetails/472.
© Ste. Michelle Wine Estates 2015 Woodinville, WA 98072