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


Tue Nov 3, 2015

Sweet and Moist Northern-Style Cornbread

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Northern-style Cornbread

Back in college, I celebrated a cousin's birthday at the low-cost rotisserie chicken 'n' ribs joint Dallas BBQ. Don't let the name fool you, you won't find old fashioned wood burning pits out back at this New York-based institution—it was the"Texas-sized" frozen margaritas that were our main draw. As the meal came to an end, we requested a cake and candle (little more than an excuse for our inebriated group to sing "Happy Birthday" as loudly and off-key as possible). The waiter promptly returned with a slice of cornbread, topped with whipped cream and a sole lit candle. We all kind of laughed at the "cake," but as we ate it, it didn't feel so out of place.

Their cornbread was sweet, moist, tender, and springy—very much like a cake after all. The namesake corn flavor was there, but not in a way that made a dollop of whipped cream feel out of place. As a Northerner, this was the exact type of cornbread I grew up on.

In my early days of barbecuing, I thought I needed to go for authenticity and started experimenting with Southern-style cornbread for my cookouts. But those denser, drier, and more intensely corn-flavored loaves never sat quite right with me. So I abandoned them pretty quickly and instead fully embraced the Northern-style cornbread that I know and love, in all of its sugary glory.

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Tue Sep 8, 2015

Aioli-and-Pesto Fingerling Potato Salad

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Fingerling Potato Salad

There are some neighborhood restaurants that just feel like home. It'll take some time for me to find that place in my new locale of Durham, but back in Astoria there was no question that Il Bambino played that part in my life. It's a small panini shop that opened a few years after I moved to the neighborhood, and I was instantly enamored of their excellent sandwiches, welcoming owner, and a killer cannellini bean salad with pesto that quickly became my go-to appetizer. The restaurant hasn't changed too much over the years, and while the menu fluctuates just enough to keep things interesting, my main comforts have persisted over time.

It was a sad day though when I came in and saw that the bean salad was not on the menu. In its place was an unassuming fingerling potato salad. I ordered it, skeptical any dish could replace my fondness for the bean salad, but was taken aback with just how amazing it was.

Tender and creamy fingerling potatoes were coated in a truffle aioli, drizzled with the same fresh basil pesto that made the bean salad so magical, sprinkled with sweet and crunchy fried shallots, and generously topped with delicate shavings of sharp and salty pecorino romano. One bite and I'd nearly forgotten about that bean salad.

So, when I was considering what side to bring to my first cookout I was invited to down here in NC, I felt like anything less than this particular combination of ingredients would be selling myself short. It's rather process-heavy as potato salads go, but it's worth every second of it.

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Tue Aug 18, 2015

Mustard Coleslaw

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Mustard Slaw

When getting into barbecue, I had to take a long time enemy face on—coleslaw. I knew coleslaw only as that tough, bland salad doled out in medicine cups at Greek dinners, dressed with mayo as if that would make such an undesirable side more palatable. When I became a barbecue fiend, I was confronted with slaw in larger portions, and guiltily left it remaining on my plate after finishing all the glorious smoked meats that sat next to it. It took some time, but I couldn't rightfully keep being so wasteful, so started to cautiously indulge in coleslaw, and while mostly I remained unimpressed, I came across a few that surprised me with how delicious they were. Over my many years of cooking, I made it a point to whip up some coleslaw now and again in an attempt to make it match, or better, those that I found worthy of being served with barbecue, and I'm happy to say I've finally found slaw nirvana in this unassuming mustard coleslaw.

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Thu May 1, 2014

10 Grilling Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

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10 Cinco de Mayo Recipes

It's no secret that I have a strong affinity for Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. Having grown up in a wasteland of mediocre to bad Mexican restaurants, it wasn't until my (now) wife brought me down to her home state of Texas for the first time that I realized how incredible Mexican food really is. The flavors often invoke a freshness and brightness that pairs with spicy and fruity peppers that combine into plates that are as exhilarating as they are beautiful. Alongside barbecue, Mexican, and its cross-border incarnations, have become the backbone of what I cook at home, and so over the years, it only makes sense that I've collected a slew of really great Mexican grilling recipes on the blog. It's more than enough to put together an excellent spread for Cinco de Mayo (or any party for that matter).

See the Cinco de Mayo recipe line-up >>

Tue Dec 3, 2013

Charred Radicchio With Balsamic Vinegar and Bacon

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Charred Raddichio with Balsamic and Bacon

Adam Perry Lang's books are some of my favorite to flip through when I'm in need of inspiration. The photos are beautiful and recipes show a skill of building flavor and an attention to detail that makes them unique among grilling cookbooks. As much as I'm quick to shower praise on these books, the truth is I actually rarely cook from them. The same factors that make the recipes so inspirational are also a hinderance to actually making them attractive to tackle—extended ingredient lists, long processes, and uncommon techniques. So you'll find bits and pieces of influence from Lang in my recipes, but almost no recipes done explicitly step-by-step. One exception are these charred radicchio with balsamic vinegar and bacon, which is one of the more straightforward recipes from Charred and Scruffed. Lack of complexity is by no means an indicator that these are any lesser of a dish—in fact, they're an incredible combination of textures and flavors.

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