Light the Grill....Crack a Beer....Crank the Tunes

Light the Grill....Crack a Beer....Crank the Tunes

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Grilled Horseradish Meatloaf Sandwich/Schlafly Kolsch/Blue Snaggletooth "Beyond Thule"

We've done a couple of meatloaf recipes on here, an open-faced chipotle meatloaf sandwich as well as a grilled bison meatloaf.  This time around we still use bison, but we mix it with old fashioned oats, chopped onion, horseradish, dijon and chile sauce.  We smoke it on the grill and place it on grilled rustic garlic bread and top it with an onion ring, spicy bbq sauce and a sweet mustard.  This hearty sandwich is paired up with a crisp Kolsch from St. Louis' Schlafly brewery.   For the tunes we went with Michigan's Blue Snaggletooth's latest, the excellent  "Beyond Thule".

Grilled Horseradish Meatloaf Sandwich - Even people that say they don't like meatloaf, like meatloaf when it's done right on the grill.  Tonight we gather the ingredients for yet another meatloaf recipe.  This time we need 1 lb. of ground bison, 1/2 of a chopped onion, 1/2 cup oats, 1 egg, a tablespoon each of chile sauce, dijon mustard and prepared horseradish, 1 teaspoon of Milwaukee Avenue seasoning and salt and pepper.

Mix all of the ingredients well in a large bowl until completely incorporated,

Form the mixture into a long thin loaf.

Now it's time to apply the glaze which is 1/2 chile sauce mixed with 1/4 each of dijon mustard and prepared horseradish.  Mix well and brush on to the meatloaf.

Get a grill going with a two zone fire; one side at a medium heat and the other side cool.  Place the meatloaf on the cool side of the grill.

Cover and cook the meatloaf over indirect heat for 40 minutes until it is nicely browned.  then place it directly over the coals to get a little crust on it.

We bring the meatloaf inside and get a griddle going to medium heat then squirt a little olive oil on it.  We slice the meatloaf in 2" pieces and flatten slightly to roughly the size of the garlic bread and place on the griddle.  Once the interior gets a little crust on it, we top with a heaping amount of freshly shredded dill havarti.

We finish off the meatloaf slices in a 375 degree oven for about 5-7 minutes until the cheese melts which is just enough time to knock out the garlic bread.  Add a little more olive oil to the griddle as well as to some rustic slices of Italian bread then we also sprinkle with garlic powder.  Place the bread slices on the griddle until golden brown.  The cheese on the meatloaf should also be nicely melted at this time and can be removed from the oven

Now we build.  Spread some sweet hot mustard on the garlic bread and top with the cheesy meatloaf patty and a large fried onion ring.

The final touch is a squeeze of a homemade spicy red bbq sauce and this open-faced sandwich is ready to be inhaled.  It was such a great combination of flavors and the meatloaf itself turned out super moist and flavorful.

Schlafly Kolsch -  Previously unavailable in the Chicago area, the St. Louis microbrewery Schlafly has finally started distributing a portion of their line up to these parts.  Today we paired up the meatloaf with their light and crisp kolsch.   This lager pours a dark yellow and effervescent with a thick white foamy head. The aroma is tart and bitter like a Pilsner but the taste is much smoother and more muted than your typical tangy and astringent kolsch.  What you do get is a fairly sweet malt forward beer with a crisp bite on the finish.  We loved it with the meal as it cut right through the rich and hearty meatloaf with ease and provided a nice light compliment to the heavier fare.

Blue Snaggletooth "Beyond Thule" - One of our favorite things is when we listen to an album for the first time to feature it on these pages and it winds up being the soundtrack of our week or longer.  Such is the case with this incredible new release "Beyond the Thule" from Ann Arbor's Blue Snaggletooth.   The album features three key things; a perfect guitar tone that is infectiously dirty, a tight rhythm section that keeps the groove chugging along throughout and killer soaring vocals that will have you singing along to nearly every tune.  The album starts off with "Reptiles" and right away that guitar sound will grab you by the throat and pull you in.  The frenetic paced song is also really catchy reminding us of Bad Wizard right down to the vocals.   One of the best tracks on the album is the heavy, building "Sleeping Mountain".    The chunky riff and groove will have your head banging immediately.  The great vocals just makes the song that much better.  "Serpent and the King" has a little darker feel to recalling a little of the NWOBHM sound with Paul Stanley on vocals.  It's another stellar track.  There's a cool little southern stoner/sludge feel to "Silver Goddess" then a funky edge to "Gawkers".    A cool early Iron Maiden-esque riff kicks off "All You See".  It's a huge number that needs to be played loud.   The band pulls out some serious blues chops on "Nameless Cults".   The album ends with "Transmutation" and there is no pulling off the gas pedal here if anything they rip the doors clean off in this frenzied track.  The solo on this track just smokes too.  "Beyond Thule" was an awesome album after the first spin but it somehow just keeps getting better and better after each successive listen.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Jalapeño Cherry and Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Cherry Moonshine Syrup/Saugatuck Brewing Neapolitan Milk Stout/Orange Goblin "Back From The Abyss"

Ok, not our normal fare here with the stuffed french toast, but shooting it up with jalapeño and moonshine makes it at least a little closer to what we typically feature.   We make a filling with cream cheese, powdered sugar, cinnamon, jalapeño cherry preserves and two types of cherries then place it between two slices of rustic french toast.  The finishing touch is a drizzle of cherry moonshine syrup and powdered sugar.  Sticking with the sweet theme, we opted for the Neapolitan Milk Stout from Michigan's Saugatuck Brewing Co. to pair up with the food.   Since the food and music are both so borderline sickly sweet, we thought we'd better do a 180 with the tunes and blast the heavy biker metal of Orange Goblin's latest "Back From The Abyss".

Jalapeño Cherry and Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Cherry Moonshine Syrup - We actually made the filling a day ahead and like how it tightened up in the fridge overnight, so we will start there.  In a medium saute pan get the heat going to medium and add a tablespoon each of coconut oil and jalapeño cherry preserves until both are melted then add in 1 cup of pitted black cherries

Sprinkle a teaspoon of cinnamon on top of the cherries as well as 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.

Stir to combine and let simmer until the cherries soften and release most of their liquid.

Remove the pan from the heat and add in 1/4 cup of cherries from a bottle of cherry moonshine and combine.

In a bowl add in 1 block of softened cream cheese and with a slotted spoon pour the warm cherries over the cream cheese leaving the reserved liquid in the pan.  Blend the cherries well into the cream cheese, cover and refrigerate.

Pour the reserved cherry syrup into a mason jar and refrigerate as well.

All that is left to do is make some french toast.  We're using some large slices of rustic Italian bread that we slice in half.

We'll need a custard to dip these in, which we can whip up with eggs, whipping cream, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla.

Place a few slices of bread in the egg mixture and soak both sides well.  Place on a hot buttered griddle.

Cook the bread until golden brown and flip over.  Scoop a heaping amount of the cherry cheese filling on half of bread slices then top each half with a fully cooked piece of french toast and continue to cook until the bottoms are golden brown also.

We slice the stuffed french toast in half, pour a little of the cherry moonshine syrup on top and finish with powdered sugar.  As unconventional as these were, they were unbelievable with a perfect ratio of sweet, tangy, sour and grain alcoholy.

Saugatuck Brewing Neapolitan Milk Stout - We've been up to this brewery a few times and have always had pretty good success with their beers on tap.  More of their beers are starting to show up in the Chicago area and today we took a flyer on this unique ice cream flavored milk stout.  The beer pours a dark brown with a reddish hue and a thick bubbly head that resembles a cherry coke. The immediate aroma is strawberry ice cream with some stout-like sweetness following right after. The flavor really does hit all three notes of Neapolitan ice cream with bittersweet chocolate being the first to hit followed by the fruity strawberry with the creamy sweet vanilla providing the finish. This is not the order listed on the bottle, but it's what we picked up. The beer is certainly interesting, not one we'd want to drink all the time but honestly the only reason it made it in our cart was we knew we were going to pair it up with the cherry French toast. Our hunch was right, the beer worked really well with the breakfast making for a very sweet and boozy 1-2 punch.

Orange Goblin "Back From The Abyss" -  Orange Goblin's latest offering has some pretty huge shoes to fill following their incredible "Eulogy for the Damned" that was released in early 2012.   "Back from the Abyss" at times ups the speed and intensity even more making themselves into a modern day Motorhead. Well, Motorhead would be the modern day Motorhead, but you get our point.  On the other hand, the album is downright doomy some times, recalling classic Sabbath.  Right out of the gate comes "Sabbath Hex" which would sound right at home on "Eulogy From The Damned" with its mix of melodic rock and roll and heavy biker metal.   "Ubermensch" continues on with the sonic assault before the album's shining moment kicks in.  "The Devil's Whip" is the 2+ minutes of classic Motorhead fury, pure speed metal punk in all its glory.   "Demon Blues" has a dirty groove and swagger like a sludgy piece of southern metal made all the more swampy with the raspy guttural roar of the vocals.  Some very, for lack of a better term, groovy guitar work kicks off "Heavy Lies the Crown"  before a catchy riff settles in with some gravelly vocals that follow right along with the riff.  The song sinks to some low and sludgy depths toward the end with some wickedly dark results.   The 7+ minute "Into the Arms of Morpheus" is another high water mark on the album.  It begins with some really down-tuned Sabbath-y bass work and some cool bluesy guitar.   The song settles into a sweet groove and features the album's best and most catchy vocals.   "Mythical Knives" has that same type of feel as "Red Tide Rising" from "Eulogy", a heavy rocker that needs to be cranked up loud.  "Bloodzilla" brings more of the Motorhead energy to the table.  On "Blood of Them" the band locks into the patented low and heavy groove that they are known for and what makes them so incredible.  The album closes with "The Shadow over Innsmouth", an instrumental that is so ridiculously sludgy in the best possible way.  What can we say, this band can't release a bad album and just seems to be getting better and better.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Glazed Asian Short Rib Burger with Ginger Slaw/New Belgium Slow Ride/High on Fire "Surrounded by Thieves"

We had some ground short rib left over in the freezer from the short rib meatball sliders we did a little while back.  We formed them into patties and set out to make burgers.   We were all set to do some kind of rustic, stick to your rib wintery burger but called an audible last minute to this Asian-themed sweet and slightly spicy burger with a crunchy gingery slaw.  We paired these tasty burgers up with the mind-blowing new session IPA Slow Ride from New Belgium Brewing.   On the stereo we cranked up  another album from 2005, going heavy as balls with High on Fire's "Surrounded by Thieves".

Glazed Asian Short Rib Burger with Ginger Slaw -  Having the short ribs already ground is a huge time-saver.  We form the ground short rib into patties.

Next up comes the seasoning, which there is one thing specifically we use that has got us super excited.      The Spice House now carries a sriracha powder and its pretty powerful stuff.  First we splash a little soy sauce on the patty then season it with the sriracha powder, garlic powder and black pepper.

Place the patties in the fridge as we knock out the Asian BBQ sauce that will be used as a glaze on the patties as well as a finishing sauce.   All we need is equal parts hoisin and sweet chile sauce mixed with a tablespoon on red chile paste and a splash of fish sauce.  Mix well and set aside.

The last piece to knock out is the ginger slaw.  For this we'll need 1 small head of cabbage, a carrot, 1/4 of a cucumber, 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger and 1/2 to 2/3 cup rice wine vinegar.  Thinly slice the cabbage and throw a rough dice on the carrot, cucumber and ginger.  Toss in a bowl with the rice vinegar and set aside.

On to the burgers we go.  On a smoking hot griddle pour a little grape seed oil then add the patties.

Let these go for 4-5 minutes until a deep rich appears the bottom then flip and brush with Asian BBQ sauce.

Repeat on the other side until both sides are charred and the sauce adheres and turns sticky.   Remove from the griddle and keep warm.  Place sliced brioche buns on the griddle until they are golden brown. Place a patty on the toasted bun and brush with more of the Asian BBQ sauce.

A heaping of the ginger slaw gets placed on top and that is all she wrote for this burger which was so rich and flavorful from the short rib and perfectly sweet and tangy from the BBQ sauce and slaw.  A perfect combo of a banh mi and a burger.

New Belgium Slow Ride - Our two favorite words in the beer world may very well be "Session IPA", big time hoppiness in a drinkable fairly low ABV beer, sign us up every time.  If that session IPA happens to come form the excellent New Belgium, well then all the better.    Slow Ride pours a foamy dark yellow with heavy effervescance.  The aroma is perfect, with fresh hops abound giving way to some awesome mango notes.  The flavor is…wow.  Just wow.  It is so smooth and easy drinking, but also so amazingly hoppy.  It would be nearly impossible NOT to session drink these beers.  So drinkable is Slow Ride that it really should be sold by the case.  Let's just say the six pack did not last very long at all.  It also happened to be an incredible pairing with the burger, proving the perfect compliment to the sweet and slightly spicy burger.

High on Fire "Surrounded by Thieves" -  If you've followed us for any time at all, you know our preferred formula when it comes to burger nights, it's the Kumas formula.  Big burger + super hoppy IPA + heavy stoner rock/metal = one hell of a good time.  High on Fire is on the bill for tonight and we dig deep into their catalog to their sophomore album "Surrounded by Thieves" which we still consider to be one of their best efforts, a perfect combination of speed metal and sludge as if Motorhead met Crowbar at a bar and decided to jam.  The opening track is "Eyes and Teeth" and it pummels the eardrums with its combination of machine-gun paced drum fills and a ferocious riff.    Keeping things fierce is "Hung, Drawn and Quartered" again starting off with some amazing drum work.  The tune will give your neck muscles a work out as it is an exercise in head banging.   "Speedwolf" contrary to its name is actually a pretty slow and sludgy tune with bursts of thrash thrown in here and there.  One of the best tracks on the album is "The Yeti", if a song could melt your speakers, this song would be it.  It's got a huge Crowbar feel to it, that even though it is super heavy and loud, the vocals are really melodic making the song almost, dare we say it?  Catchy.  On "Nemesis" the band shows their penchant for early 80s metal virtuosity and they mix it with the biker metal of an Orange Goblin.  Taking things down a notch, "Thraft of Canaan" is a little more progressive while still maintaining its heaviness,  like a modern day Hawkwind.   The title track slams ridiculously hard and is the heaviest tune on an album that is full of them.  The album ends with yet another highlight in "Razor Hoof".   The song, well maybe "grooves" isn't the right word but it certainly sludgely shuffles along nicely and puts an exclamation point on an amazing album.