Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The New Olympic Sport: Indoor Grilling!

(Neen proposed a couple other titles, including "Indoor Grilling: Never, EVER try this at Home" or "Men+Fire+Inside = Bad News," but it's Do's story so she'll let him tell it to you in his own words)

A couple weeks ago, we went to the DuPont farmers' market - and we have been posting about it ever since! Well, one (of the many) things we purchased at the farmers' market was a collection of different kinds of sausage.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I am holding four different packages of sausage in my hand and thinking about how to prepare them is: GRILLING! There is nothing like a charcoal grill or a wood fire for cooking up sausage. Of course, we don't own a grill. Not even one of those cute, "I can only hold one burger at a time," weber grills that inevitably wind up stuffed into some god-forsaken portion of your closet that you didn't even know existed prior to owning this particular grill (I know, my parents have one). So that got my wheels turning. It's a slow process.

What is the most basic aspect of a grill? Open fire. The second most basic aspect - a metal grid to put the meat on so that the meat cooks with those delicious hash marks. The scientific minds begins to work and I wind up with the following equation: open fire + metal grid = stove burner + oven rack. Now many of you, I expect, can already pin-point exactly what the problem is going to be, sssshhh...... don't ruin it for the rest of the class.

As soon as we get home I start trying to put my dream into action. I can already taste the slightly carbon-y flavor of the deliciously, perfectly grilled sausages that I am going to make. If only it was that easy. The first complication, of course, is the thought of clean up. I mean, sausages are going to leak grease all over the place ... so I use aluminum foil as a cover for my oven-rack to keep the juice from dripping onto the stove. So far, so good. I place the foil-coated oven rack directly above open flame, let it heat up a little and then toss on a sausage. The hiss and crack of meat on hot metal is music to my ears.

As I watch the buffalo hot dog begin to cook, I become certain of my success. I toss on a hot Italian Sausage made of pork and an lamb chorizo, thinking to my self, "Oh, this will be easy!" At first everything is perfect, the sausages begin to cook and change colors. Then they start leaking oil - oh yes, but I have my aluminum foil, aren't I clever! Of course, it is very hot aluminum foil. It is aluminum foil directly over an open flame. And grease, for those of you who don't know, has a very low flash point - that is why one gets grease fires. Oh, yeah... grease fires...

As the lamb chorizo cooks and releases oil (lots and lots of oil), the oil seeps towards the burner, and the next thing I know, the aluminum foil is on fire. This is not sparks, or little pops of flame, no it is burning right in front of my eyes. Neen took the opportunity to vocalize in no uncertain terms that grease fires are not her idea of a good time (it's amazing what she can communicate in a single syllable). Meanwhile, I turn the fire off and the flame quickly subsides (thankfully it is actually pretty hard to keep aluminum foil burning, and there was not that much grease). The picture to the right is a shot of the aluminum foil, just after I turned the fire off. You can see the holes where the aluminum foil was burned when the grease lit on fire... So ended the great indoor grilling experiment. It is just a miracle Neen didn't kill me for trying.

Thankfully, the sausage was far from ruined. I just pulled out a pan and cooked them the old fashioned way. The sausage selection we had purchased was (from left to right in the photo below): Lamb Chorizo from Virginia Lamb, American Buffalo Hot Dogs from Cibola Farms, French Taragon Sausage made of pork also from Cibola Farms, and Hot Italian Sausage (which we have polished off, so I don't know where we purchased it from). They were all really good. I was particularly impressed by the lamb chorizo since, while it had spices similar to chorizo, it really didn't taste anything like a pork based chorizo - it had a much more interesting flavor. The only down side is the amount of grease that it releases while cooking. The Buffalo hot dog, was a really, really nice hot dog. If we had hot dog buns, a grill, and some condiments, I can't think of anything better. I would stick with them over grocery store hot dogs any day of the week. They have a much more intense meat flavor than the standard all-beef hot dogs.

On the whole, if you are interested in a diversity of flavors with your sausage, the DuPont Farmers' Market is a good stop. The sausage is not significantly more expensive than a nice sausage from Giant, and they are much, much better. With the added bonus that most of them come from "Happy Animals."

Neen made a wonderful little salad to balance the all meat main-course. It was a great lunch. Of course, then I had to clean up my "indoor grill." Ah well, live and learn.

9 comments:

Grace said...

hey, as long as the sausages were salvageable, it doesn't matter how out of control the flames got. priorities! :)

ntsc The Art of The Pig said...

Lodge sells a very nice piece of cast iron which fits over two burners of a gas stove. One side is flat and works well as a griddle, the other side has ridges and works well as a grill, including grill marks. It does have gutters to catch grease.

SaintTigerlily said...

Smoking is also a really nice alternative, and I've used a couple of really nice indoor smokers that actually made my house smell sort of yummy.

Michael said...

Your ancient stove does have a broiler -- in the bottom compartment of the stove, beneath the oven itself. For sausages, you can line your broiler pan with aluminum foil, pierce the sausages repeatedly with a fine point or blade to encourage them to lose the grease rather than simply pop open like popcorn, turn up the broiler to full and slide those dogs in the compartment. They'll be about 3 or 4 inches BELOW the flame and the grease should flow onto the broiler pan (AWAY from the flame). Keep an eye on them; after they brown visibly, pull the pan out and turn them over. Cooking time maybe 2 minutes or so on a side.

Neen said...

Oh believe me Dad, I tried to get him to use the broiler. But nooo. Apparently broilers aren't as manly as an open flame. :)

Krysta said...

Okay! What to do with you two? I was screaming at the computer screen. DON"T DO IT! Go get a little grill and do it outside so you don't blow each other up.

ib said...

Okay my mom (Krysta) was talking about you and your blog and she said "...moving to Berkeley" and I got really excited and had to look at your blog and then I read this and I'm just wondering does Berkeley about this because it's a little scary to picture you doing a lab if this is what happens at home. I'm not judging i'm just saying if I see an article in the news paper about one of the buildings at UC Berkeley being burned down I will know who did it. =]

ib said...

I feel much safer knowing you will be working on computers. Trust me I will have plenty of questions for you two once you get settled. You must visit Moe's bookstore on telegraph street.










P.S. Thanks I sure will need that luck. Maybe some of the intelligence when it comes to my chem final. I don't have my real IB exams until next year.

Anonymous said...

A little off topic, Guys... I have a question. Yesterday I trapped on this site:
[url=http://www.rivalspot.com]Rivalspot.com - Xbox Live Tournaments[/url]
They say you can play online sports game tournaments on any console for cash... had anyone tried that before? Looks like a cool idea...
Are there any other sites where you can play sports games for real moneys? I Googled and found only Bringit.com and Worldgaming.com but it looks these guys don't specialize in sport gamez. Any suggestions?