The Meatwave: Barbecue & Grilling Recipes, Reviews, Tips, and Tricks

Grilling

Tue Sep 30, 2014

Cremini Mushrooms Stuffed with Basil and Parmesan Mayo

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Revenge of the Meatwads

Right now I'm suffering from a lack of vacation. Sure I've done a few long weekend outings and had time off with the family, but nothing really where I've been able to get away and remove myself from the world in a way that my brain seems to require at least once a year. I have something on the books to look forward to, but right now that can't soon enough and I've found myself reminiscing on vacations of yore to remember the feeling of escape that I'm in eager anticipation of right now. My last real getaway was to Spain over a year and half ago, and as part of my looking back, I've been awash in the fondness of all that I ate there. Mostly those meals were tapas, and I surprisingly found my favorite dishes were those that included only a few ingredients, but they came together in such a way that their centerpiece was heightened to a type of deliciousness I hadn't quite experienced before.

One example of that were these unassuming grilled mushroom caps stuffed with a green mayo that had a great herbal and garlicky flavor. I tried to recreate something similar after I got home, and am proud to say that even if these cremini mushrooms stuffed with basil and parmesan mayo are not a 100% direct copy, they're every bit as incredible as their inspiration.

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Tue Sep 23, 2014

Spicy Cumin Lamb Skewers

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Spicy Cumin Lamb Skewers

If you're from New York, I doubt you need to hear another love story about Xi'an Famous Foods—a now prolific restaurant that made the cuisine of the northwestern Chinese city of Xi'an fairly well known here. Still, I need to give full credit to them for igniting my love for the marriage of cumin and lamb. This pairing makes up most of their best dishes and are the ones I found myself ordering time and again in different forms under the flickering fluorescent lights in the subterranean Golden Mall in Flushing, Queen where they got their start. These particular spicy cumin lamb skewers are a direct influence of that, bringing together the flavors I'm now quite familiar with onto one easily grill-able stick.

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Thu Sep 18, 2014

Planked Figs with Pancetta and Goat Cheese

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Figs with Pancetta and Goat Cheese

I'm creeping into the mindset that planking is b.s. Well, at least the flavor enhancement part is. Wood flavors food through smoke, and with little to no smoke created when planking, there is little to no benefit in that area, at least in my (changing) opinion. However, I do see a distinct advantage to planking in the realm of convenience—the plank can serve as a great medium for delicate or small foods that would otherwise be difficult to grill, plus it then makes an attractive serving dish (assuming you didn't scorch it to death) that adds the aura of outdoor grilling. So when approaching this recipe for figs with pancetta and goat cheese, I saw the plank as almost essential to be able to grill and serve these small delicious fruits with ease.

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Tue Sep 9, 2014

Ajvar

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Ajvar

Spending a lot of time to find just the right recipe for cevapi—an uncased grilled Balkan sausage—it would have been a shame to serve it with a subpar ajvar—the traditional roasted red pepper sauce accompaniment. So while already at the grill, I took a shot at preparing ajvar in a few different ways to find the one that could proudly sit on the plate next to those delicious sausages.

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Tue Sep 2, 2014

Cevapi

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Cevapi

After tackling merguez—a Moroccan lamb sausage that required a lot of spices, a hefty time commitment, and some frustration working with finicky sheep casings—I wanted my next sausage endeavor to be quick and easy. I found that in cevapi, a Balkan uncased sausage that, in my experience, tastes mainly of just meat, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Of course, it couldn't be quite so simple.

As I looked into origins and recipes, I found no clear path to follow in making it. The diverse states in the Balkan region—Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Macedonia, to name a few—each lay claim to their own nuanced versions on this finger-sized sausage, utilizing different combinations of meats and spices. So I decided to find my own favorite version of cevapi by building it from the ground up, creating variations until I struck meaty gold with the best one possible.

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