experiments with BBQing

Ah, the weekend of the double booked bbq. BBQs are my favorite, but I was sad that two were back to back, and I'd only get to spend a little bit of time at the first one. But in other news, allowed me to create even more bbq dishes than usual!

I stuck with old standards for the first bbq (teriyaki flank steak and grilled asparagus) but busted out some new marinades for the second (orange-chili chicken, spicy prawns, japanese style portabellos). All in all, it worked out!

My flank steak marinade is the simplest thing in the world. Buy flank steak. Cut into manageable sizes. Throw in plastic bag. Pour in enough Soy Vey teriyaki sauce to cover. Let sit for 24-48 hours. Grill so they are nice and crispy on the outside, perfectly red on the inside. Big change for this attempt was I think I mastered the art of slicing it into small strips for serving afterward.

Asparagus is similarly easy. Trim hard ends, rinse, and toss in plastic bag. Pour in a bit of garlic olive oil (I use TJ brand), and grind in some fresh salt and pepper. Toss around in the bag until everything is covered, and let sit for a couple of hours. Then grill to taste (these went on while the fire was still really hot, so got just the right amount of almost burnt on one side, and then barely done on the other, and tasted perfect).

Both of these disappeared off the plate fast, as I wandered around the party offering them out. Next time, I'd make at least double portions of each.

At my other BBQ, I worked on my new dishes.

First were the japanese marinade portabellos. I was trying to replicate a marinade that banshee had done once that knocked my socks off, and found something online that looked a lot like it.

What I found called for:

cup soy sauce
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons mirin
2 Tablespoons sake
teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
teaspoon grated garlic

I didn't have any sake, and had to go to abattoir for the mirin, and fudged some of the other ingredients (definitely used more garlic & ginger, and added some green onions, sesame oil and hot oil). The results were a bit too sweet/teriyaki for me. What banshee had made was more focused on the garlic/ginger/soy flavors, so I'm guessing his had less sugar. Next time I'll make sure I use sake, and cut the sugar a bit. And add a bit of crushed red pepper. On the other hand, they were pretty delicious, and the crowds were pleased.

The stars of the evening were the spicy shrimp. Mmmmmmm... I went to Bryan's meat and fish shop (such a great place) and bought some of the biggest most wonderful tiger prawns I've ever cooked with before. Shelled and deveined them, and put them in this marinade:

1 cup vinegar, rice
1/4 cup lime juice (I used fresh squeezed)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (I used a cilantro herb paste instead)
2 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon oil, sesame
1 salt
1 teaspoon chili paste

God these were amazing and perfect. I probably ate half of them personally because I couldn't stop myself. Just wonderful. Next time, I'll probably try to put in more chili paste and lime juice, a little less vinegar, as those flavors didn't super stand out, but they still rocked. Can't wait to make these again.

Finally, the orange chili chicken breasts were done grilling. Here's the recipe I followed:

4 boneless chicken breast halves, with skin
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 garlic clove, pushed through a press
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

These were okay and all, but really nothing to write home about. The orange and chili flavors just didn't really stand out much. The recipe called for 6-8 hours of marinating, but circumstances meant I had to do them for about 24. They were plenty tender and juicy and all that, but really, not that special. Probably won't do this as a repeat.

Which doesn't matter, cause oh, those tiger prawns!

Posted by carrie on May 26, 2003 | TrackBack

Carrie, these sound fantastic! A few comments and questions....

On the steak: If you partially freeze your flank steak, it will be much easier to slice super thin while raw.

On the portobellos: i'm guessing that the sake was an important ingredient in helping take them to japanese savory instead of teriyaki. Make sure you throw that in next time, too.

The prawns sound GREAT. I love the combo of flavors. If you're upping the lime, watch how long you leave them in, because the acid can cook them off (but then you have ceviche, and that's not bad either...)

What kind of chili paste do you use?

Posted by: meriko on May 26, 2003 11:11 AM

Thanks for the tip on the flank steak! And yeah, gotta get my hands on sake. I was just rushing around saturday, and none of the stores I was at had it, and banshee must have drunk all the sake at the abattoir.

I used a random chili garlic paste that neal had been using for his tofu stir fries. It's vietnamese, and is called Tuong To Ou something or other. And I only put the shrimp in for about 30-60 minutes.

Posted by: Carrie on May 26, 2003 11:23 AM

Carrie, thanks for the recipe. I made the shrimp for a potluck BBQ on Saturday -- despite overcooking they were *really* good. Last night I used the same batch of marinade on some frozen mahi mahi fillets from Trader Joe's -- also very nice. I overcooked those, too (I'm too easily distracted when I grill...).

Posted by: andrea on June 3, 2003 10:25 PM
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