Thursday, July 23, 2009

better bbq (guest post by terry)

I come from a long line of terrible cooks. My grandmother could make a soft boiled egg and one hell of a chocolate chip cookie but her savvy stopped there. Worse, her daughters weren’t even graced with the egg boiling gene.

As a kid, I chewed for days on breaded, grey leather, fried-in-the-pan-for-nine-hours pork chops. If it wasn’t for the Del Monte Apple Sauce, swallowing would have been an impossible task. Things occasionally got worse. There were the lamb chops. These were cooked exactly like the pork but all we had was Sheriff’s Mint Jelly to wash those suckers down.

I learned to cook in my twenties after getting hired at a first-rate restaurant. Somehow I hosed them into thinking I knew about food.

Another bullshitting waiter was born.

Anyway, here’s what we had last Sunday. I had the day off so I decided to pull out the Weber Kettle Grill and use real hardwood charcoal. My wife thinks it’s excessive but I think it’s wicked fun! Menu:

  • Swiss Chard (from the Garden) and smooth-mashed Chickpea on Bruschetta
  • Baked Goat Cheese Salad, homemade croutons
  • Jerk Seasoned Pork Tenderloin and Rib-eye with Mango Salsa
  • Last-of-the-Rhubarb, Strawberries and Crumble
  • Way too much Wine


  • Heat chickpeas in pan with olive oil and warm. Add some minced fresh hot red pepper and then push through a Ricer or mash anyway you want.
  • Immerse the swiss chard in boiling water for a few minutes, drain, squeeze out water, then sauté in a pan for a couple of minutes with olive oil, a clove or two of minced fresh garlic and a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • I cut some Ace Baguette lengthwise in half and in 5-6 inch long pieces, brush with good olive oil and throw it on the grill. If you walk away from the grill I promise you it will burn! (Sourdough and Calabrese bread also work well)
  • When your toasted bread comes off the grill rub it lightly with a clove of raw garlic. This makes all the difference. I like to rub both sides.
  • Spread some warm chickpea mash on the toasts. Then mound the swiss chard on top, a little salt and a drizzle of your best olive oil and another quick squeeze of lemon. EAT.

Goat Cheese Salad: (for 4 people)

  • Cut goat cheese into rounds (two per person) about the thickness of your finger and 3 or 4 inches diameter. But it doesn’t really matter about the size.
  • Marinate, covered, in the fridge for about 4 hours with good olive oil and 5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves stripped off their branch.
  • Cut some baguette into ¼ inch slices, (4 per person maybe?). Paint them with melted butter then throw them into a 350F oven for about 5-7 minutes. WATCH THEM! Pull them out and rub lightly with clove of raw garlic.
  • We used red leaf and new spinach and red oak leaf lettuce which was amazingly fresh from our farmer’s market but you can use any mixed greens you want. All I can say is that if you can get fresh greens from the your garden or a farmer’s market it’s way better then any bag of mixed greens from the supermarket…. organic or not.
  • I mixed a dressing of this great Red Wine Vinegar and olive oil. About 4 tablespoons of vinegar and whisk in ½ cup olive oil. If you like more punch or your greens are crap, add more vinegar.
  • Pull the goat cheese from the fridge and coat with bread crumbs.
  • Then warm the goat cheese in a 400F preheated oven for about 6 minutes, give or take.
  • Toss salad with vinaigrette, put the croutons around it and add two rounds of the warmed cheese to the middle of your salad.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Jerk Paste:
I modified Stephen Raichlen’s recipe for Jamaican Jerk Paste from The Barbecue Bible.
Note: 4 chiles are somewhat hot, 15 chiles are crazy hot. I think scotch bonnet are about the hottest fresh chiles out there. If you touch your eyes after handling these peppers, or for the guys, someplace worse, you will freak out. Wear a rubber glove if you have one.

Makes about 2 cups; enough to marinate 4 pounds meat, chicken or seafood. Use the jerk marinade to marinate pork for 6 hours, chicken breasts for 3 hours, and fish fillets or shrimp for 1 hour.


  • 4 to 15 scotch bonnet chiles, seeded (for a hotter marinade, leave the seeds in)
  • 2 bunch scallion, both white and green parts, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, small, quartered
  • 2 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbs ginger, fresh, grated
  • 2 tsp thyme, fresh, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tsp allspice, ground 3 tbs canola oil 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 tbs lime juice, fresh, or more to taste
  • 2 tbs brown sugar, dark, firmly packed
  • 1 & 1/2 tbs salt, or more to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 cup water

Combine the chiles, scallions, shallots, onion, garlic, ginger, thyme, allspice, canola oil, soy sauce, 3 tablespoons lime juice, brown sugar, 1 ½ tablespoon salt, pepper, and water in a blender or better, a food processor. Blend until smooth. Correct the seasoning, adding salt and lime juice as necessary. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 2 cups; enough to marinate 4 pounds meat, chicken, or seafood

Pork Tenderloin and Rib-eye: I barbecued two pork tenderloins and a 2-inch thick rib-eye from our Mennonite butcher. There was more than enough jerk paste.

  • Cut the pork tenderloin lengthwise from end to end but not all the way through. Leave about an inch uncut all the way across. Your pork tenderloin should look like an open book. Sandwich it between two pieces of cling wrap and hammer it down to about 1 inch thick. Use the flat side of a meat hammer or whatever you have handy. Remove cling wrap.
  • I poke a bunch of ¼ inch holes all over the pork and the rib-eye and then rub the paste all over the meat with a spatula.
  • Marinate pork for 6 hours or so, and the beef for considerably less time…maybe 2 hours?
  • I put the rib-eye on the grill first, since it was a full inch thicker than the pork.
  • The pork should cook to 137F and no more. It will climb another 3 degrees after you take it off the grill. It may look a little pink inside but it’s done, trust me.
  • Cook your rib-eye to your liking. I like medium rare.

Try a Celeriac Salad with the jerk to cool things down. Enjoy.

Terry still remembers how good his Nana's cookies were. They almost made up for when she used to call him Kenny.

Terry is an adventurous cook who doesn't flinch at the thought of cleaning a squid or trying a new semi-freddo recipe. He's committed to eating from his garden and doing what he can to support local/seasonal eating. Terry is a professional firefighter. He's married to my one of my best friends and has a cat named Tusker-du. Best of all, he taught the MenuManiac how to cook.


  1. Glad you like it! Terry is an amazing cook. My dream is that he will one day open a small restaurant.

  2. Inspiring menu, plus great writing and storytelling. I would frequent the small restaurant. Love it!

  3. T: As expected, this looks fantastic. I can't wait until you come to the maniac's new kitchen. Talk soon.

    PS: I love the old school Weber!

  4. Terry is such a good cook I try my best not drink too much before we eat, despite the excessive amount of fine wines and spirits easily within reach.