We have a great guest post today from our friend’s at JES Restaurant Equipment! Check out the infographic, below, on some very common mistakes that grillers make, and the corresponding tips to help make your live-fire cooking the best it can be!
Now that the weather’s warmed up, millions of people are firing up the grill and cooking up delicious meals. But how many of you are making these common grilling mistakes?
Pressing your burgers flat with the spatula (smooshes the juices right out)
Cooking too fast (or too slow – don’t forget the sear!)
Burning your sauce (put sugary sauces on when you’re almost done cooking)
Cutting into meats without letting them rest (resting the meat for about 5 minutes seals in the juices – thicker cuts need even longer)
We focused on tips for a gas grill (like the popular Holland Grills), but these tips will work equally well on charcoal grills.
A couple of weeks back, Texas Pepper Jelly owner Craig Sherry was kind enough to answer my Facebook plea for an Apple Habanero Jelly (that recipe is still in the works…it will be awesome) and while I was perusing his website, I couldn’t pass up the chance to order a 2-oz bottle of Pineapple Habanero while I was there.
I’ll tell you this…I’ll never order that two ounce bottle again…I’m gonna be a 12-oz bottle customer from now on!
Thought it might be time to get all of my La Caja China “How To” posts indexed for easy ready (and to save myself the trouble of constantly looking up the individual URLs…I’m so lazy…)
La Caja China is not a good or a service – It’s an experience. It’s a culture. It’s about the age-old mainstays of good food, good friends, and good times. It’s rugged but romantic. Requiring butchering, braising, brining and handling. It’s charcoal and chatter. As the food cooks, the aromas become as enticing as the spectacle itself. It becomes not just a conversation piece, but a conversation starter.
Most of all, La Caja China is realizing that in 4 hours or less you’ve made a delicious, authentic meal that ended up feeding your soul.
Here are some of my most popular “how to” posts on La Caja China…if you’re looking for great recipes for cooking on your La Caja China, check out my cookbooks La Caja China Cooking and La Caja China Word, available in paperback and Kindle eBook on Amazon.com at www.perryperkinsbooks.com
What we tried: lot’s of stuff (see below) What I liked best: Bacon Mushroom Swiss Burger Rating: 5/5 Stars
One line review: “Burgers and fries the way they oughta be!”
After a long day of playing on the beach in Pacific City, I shuffled into the Pelican Pub and was shocked and disappointed at the jump in menu prices. As much as I love a tall Tsunami Stout, I was footing the bill for the group, and still wanted to make my mortgage payment this month, so I decided that perhaps we should explore other options.
Victoria and I have visited Pacific City many times, including an anniversary week-end, and there’s a little grub shack on the corner of the main drag named Fat Freddy’s that we’ve always meant to stop in at, but never have. (Note: they aren’t always open for dinner in the off-season, so call ahead!).
So, given it’s proximity, and with a couple of ravaging youths in the van with us, it seemed like the ideal time to give it a try. Boy, am I glad we did!
Known locally for their burgers and shakes, Fat Freddy’s has a walk “To Go” window, which we didn’t use, but would be great fun if you were just walking around town checking out the wine shops and antique stores (which just about sums up Pacific City), instead we availed ourselves of the small dining room.
Redolent with the aromas of frying burgers and deep-fried mushrooms, your cholesterol can rise several points just by breathing the air…in other words, it was perfect.
Both the dining area and bathrooms were very well maintained and very clean with a lot of fun, old photos, license plates from around the country, and an article about the airplane that crashed into the restaurant years ago, on the wall. The airstrip is still located directly across the street, seemingly pointed directly and our table, and we did have one pulse-jumping take-off buzz the roof while we were there. The kids loved it!
So, enough atmosphere, let’s get down to it…
The Original Fat Freddy
I was going to order the namesake “Fat Freddy Burger” – which comes with standard burger fixin’s plus bacon, fried egg, and cheese.
Served with fries, the house special comes in 1/4lb (Mini-Freddy), 1/2lb (The Original), and a whopping 3/4lb “Ultimate Freddy”, but the waitress recommended the Bacon Swiss Mushroom as “to die for” and, being my favorite burger combo, how could I say no?
Besides, Johnathan, our token teenager, was more than happy to face down the Fat Freddy (it never stood a chance.)
My burger was fantastic, with that unmatchable fried-on-a-greasy-grill flavor.
Bacon Mushroom Swiss Burger
The fixings were crisp and fresh, including the mushrooms (NOT canned) which were sauteed to a slightly chewy, perfectly caramelized mahogany, just the way I like them.
The coup ‘de grace on this burger, however, was the bacon. Typically, bacon on a cheeseburger is cooked limp (or, god forbid, those pre-cooked, plastic-wrapped dog-treats warmed on the grill.) Freddy’s cooks fresh, thick-cut bacon to a crispy well-done brown that some folks might consider overcooked, but that I feel creates a rich, nutty flavor and “meat crouton” crunch that’s the perfect contrast to a moist burger and crisp veggies.
By the unhinging of his jaw, Jonathan made it clear that The Freddy met with his approval, and Victoria had very complimentary things to say about her California grilled chicken sandwich and Mountain Blackberry/Banana Milkshake (an off-menu combo that they happily concocted at her request.)
Then there were the fries….Sweet Lord in heaven…the fries! Fresh cut, double-dipped, seasoned French fries; the salty skins crunching between your teeth like potato chips, revealing a hot, steamy baked-potato center. Gracie, our resident French fry connoisseur, gave them two sandy thumbs up…and she’s never wrong.
Seriously, these were in the top 5 of any fries I’ve ever had.
French Fry Bliss
Speaking of our junior-foodie, Freddy’s provided her with a cup of crayons and an activity page, without even being asked, and had a deck of cards on each table, as well. Which segues nicely into…
Service was a pleasant surprise, as well.
Too often, these diners, drive-ins, and dives are manned (or, more appropriately, womanned) by impatient, Flo-esque, “kiss my grits” kinda waitresses, who never look up from their order pads, and raise a penciled-in eye-brow at any special request.
Our waitress, however, was very friendly, helpful, and very, very patient with us (Gracie informed her, at every pause in the order-taking process that she wanted fries AND ketchup). Her laughter, knowledge of the menu, and obvious enjoyment of the food were infectious, and our anticipation level jumped several notches by the time she left with our order.
I wish I’d gotten her name, she deserves a raise.
Burger prices ranged from $7-$15, and the menu includes a good variety of gourmet salads, appetizers, hot & cold sandwiches, and classic seafood dinner combos, as well. Sure, we could have saved a few bucks and gotten a dollar-menu cardboard burger from some fast-food joint on 101, but where’s the fun it that? Lord knows, we already have enough of those places back home.
Also, the portions are generous enough that light eaters could easily split a burger and fries, maybe add a side-salad, and enjoy a very nice meal.
Fat Freddy’s is exactly the kind of great food/great fun one-of-a-kind place that becomes the icing on the cake for those “family summer beach-trip” memories. Next time you’re near Pacific City, I strongly recommend Freddy’s.
Fat Freddy’s is a “must stop” when you visit Pacific City. It is one of the oldest buildings still in use in Pacific City. Freddy opened the charming burger diner in 1985 with the idea of serving the best burger possible at a fair price. He became an immediate success and a landmark as well. Freddy retired in 1992 and the present owners, Art and Tammy, picked up the tradition as Freddy handed down the secrets to his burger success.
Although Art and Tammy have maintained Freddy’s name and reputation for quality food and service, they have applied their own charm to make the diner one of the most talked about and fun eateries in PC.
Fat Freddy’s has become a meeting place for family and friends and is walking distance to the beach. Check out the antique photos of Pacific City on the wall and watch the planes land on the PC airport right across the street (keep your head down). Bring Mom, Dad, Grandma and the Kids and enjoy their old fashion milk shakes, onion rings, fish & chips, sandwiches, and Kids menu. And of course, you can’t say you’ve visited PC without experiencing the famous “Fat Freddy Burger”….(the way burgers were meant to be!)
The menu included 1/3 burgers with cheese, bacon, grilled and fresh onions, sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes and lettuce, along with homemade coleslaw, chips, and Terry’s homemade Cherry Chocolate cupcakes.
According to a recent poll by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), nearly 80% of households own grills. Gas grills are still most popular at 86% followed by charcoal grills (37%) and electric (2%).
Close to half of all grillers polled by HPBA say they grill once or twice a week during the peak season (May-September), but 58% have joined the Polar Bear Barbecue Club and grill year round.
What’s for Dinner?
The most popular foods cooked on the grill include:
Hamburgers (82%) Steak (79%) Chicken (72%) Hot Dogs (71%)
Although outdoor cooks tend to go with the “tried and true,” almost 1/3 of the respondents to the survey noted that they grilled more now than last year, because they wanted to eat healthier. Outdoor cooks note that they’re cooking leaner meats like poultry and fish as well as more grilled vegetables.
Gas grills are still most popular at 86% followed by charcoal grills (37%) and electric (2%). Close to half of all grillers polled by HPBA say they grill once or twice a week during the peak season (May-September), but 58% have joined the Polar Bear Barbecue Club and grill year round.
Foods that grillers would like to tackle and/or do a better job with included beef roasts and briskets, as well as whole chickens and turkeys.
Favorite Grill Days
Any day is a great day for a barbecue, but holidays see the most action. The hottest grill days being the 4th of July (86%) followed by Labor Day (74%), Memorial Day (69%), Father’s Day (52%), and Mother’s Day (45%). Birthdays, tailgate parties, NASCAR races and concerts also are popular times for firing up the grill.
It’s a Dirty Job – But Someone’s Got To Do It
Approximately half of all grill owners give their grill a good scrubbing once or twice a month with half those “keeping it clean weekly.” (BTW, I’m one of these “clean junkie” grillers, and I love my electric grill brush.)
Five percent of grill owners say they clean up every couple of years, and GASP! – 6% admit they never clean their grill period. Wonder how many dirty grill parties you’ve attended? Probably better not to think about that.
Key to Outdoor Cooking Success?
If you’ve tried grilling before and it didn’t work out too well, don’t give up. Buy good gear. Plan ahead. Take your time. Practice. Pick up a copy of MEAT FIRE GOOD, and come back here to Burnin’ Love BBQ and ask lots of questions!
ISBN: 1453657258 Page Count: 150 Binding Type: US Trade Paper Trim Size: 7″ x 10″ Language: English US$19.95
A collection of mouth-watering barbeque and grilling recipes by the boys at Burnin’ Love BBQ.
Shortly after man discovered fire, he discovered that if you threw a chunk of meat on the coals, let it blacken, and then dug it out of the ashes…it tasted freakin’ awesome!
Since that evolutionary milestone, man has taken barbeque (or grilling, or smoking, or whatever you want to call it,) to the four corners of the world, and adapted it to the local ingredients he found there.
If it walked, swam, slithered, or flew, early man found a way to cook it over fire…and God bless him for it!
“MEAT FIRE GOOD” takes you on a gastronomic tour of the globe, from classic Cuban and Indonesian dishes, to traditional Texas and Carolina BBQ, to the crisp, fresh flavors of the Pacific Northwest.
Burnin’ Love BBQ’s pitmasters, Perry Perkins, Terry Ramsey, and Christopher Renner, include their most popular grill-top recipes, slow-smoked pit favorites, amazing side dishes; and dozens of step-by-step crowd-pleasers..
“Barbeque – it’s not a skill…it’s our superpower.” – Burnin’ Love BBQ
Click on this thumbnail for a sample recipe:
If you would rather pay by check, please print this page, include your name and shipping address, and remit with $19.95 + $2.50 shipping for the first copy (for additional copies shipping = $1.00 each) to the address below.
If you’re interested in multiple copies (5 or more) please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for bulk order discounts.
Title: MEAT FIRE GOOD
Name………………………………………………… Copies @ $19.95 = ………
City…………………………………………………… S&H: + 2.50*
Total Enclosed ………………
Please make checks payable to Perry P. Perkins, and mail to:
Elk Mountain Books
PO Box 21
Wilsonville, OR 97070
Paperback, 7″ x 10″. 150 pp., retail $19.95. Please add the following for shipping: USA US $2.50 for the first book*, US$1.00 per each additional copy. Canada US$5.00 for the first book, US$2.00 per each additional copy. For all other countries please add US$8.00 for the first book, US$3.00 per each additional copy. For orders outside the U.S.A., credit card payments only.
Okay, so last week I posted that the Grilliant Ideas’ Jalapeno Cheddar Burgers were the best I’ve ever grilled.
That’s not a statement I make lightly.
This week I fired up the coals on my La Cajita China and flamed some monster half-pound Pineapple Teriyaki patties, and I’m NOT going to say the same about them…simply because I’m afraid I’ll have to retract my statement again next week when I grill up some of Grilliant’s Kielbasa Burgers!
From the website:
“If You Love Pineapple Then This Is The Burger For You! Just imagine the taste of Pineapple and Teriyaki Spices all together in a juicy 1/2 lb. Burger patty.
This one makes our mouths water, just talking about it. Big pieces of Pineapple, mixed in the recipe, makes this so delicious as it is grilling on your BBQ.
You will have the neighbors scrambling to your door saying “What Smells So Good?” Buy some today and plan a party!”
Seriously man, where have these burgers been all my life?
I’m totally ruined on my favorite 1/3 pound patties now! Grilliant Ideas’ 1/2 Lb burgers are meaty and juicy, without the greasy flare-ups of a lot of brands.
The flavor is amazing, when you bite into a Cheddar Bacon patty it really tastes like a burger with REAL bacon and cheddar…because that’s what it is.
No chemicals or “special flavorings” in these babies…you can see the cheese and bacon right in the patty, and there are big chunks of real pineapple in the Pineapple and Teriyaki patties! (If I’d realized that beforehand, I’d have skipped the rings, lol)
I fancied up my burgers, but only because I had the stuff on hand…trust me, these babies can stand alone.
For about half the price you’d pay for a good restaurant hamburger, you can blow your friend’s minds and serve up one of the eight awesome varieties that Grilliant Ideas currently has available. These include Brat, Kielbasa, Italian, Salami, Pineapple Teriyaki, Jalapeno Cheddar, Chile/Cheddar, and Bacon Cheddar…all half-pound burger patties.
Trust me, you will be the grill god!
PS – Here are some new Burger flavors we are working on for the future. Coming Soon:
Elk Mountain Books is pleased to announce the immediate release of “La Caja China Cooking” by Perry P. Perkins.
Click on Image to Purchase
La Caja China, the Cuban roasting box, has become the toast of food writers and celebrity gourmets, including Food Network’s THROWDOWN Chef, Bobby Flay.
In “La Caja China Cooking” Pit-master Perry Perkins takes you on a gastronomic tour of America, from Miami’s classic Cuban dishes, to traditional Texas and Carolina BBQ, to the crisp, fresh flavors of the Pacific Northwest.
Perkins includes grill-top favorites, amazing side dishes, and step-by-step Caja China instructions for “in-the-box” crowd-pleasers like:
So, fire up the coals, pick your favorite recipe, and dazzle your guests with these simple, yet mouth-watering dishes.
Wonderful things can happen when you think inside the box!
Paperback: 164 pages
Publisher: Elk Mountain Books (August 14, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 0.4 inches
Foreword: Roberto Guerra
MSRP: US $14.95
About the Author
Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional chefs. As a third generation gourmand, he focuses his love of cooking on bar-b-que, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine. Perry has written for hundreds of magazines, and his inspirational stories have been included in twelve Chicken Soup anthologies, as well.
Perry’s books include the novels Just Past Oysterville, and Shoalwater Voices, Elk Hunters Don’t Cry, and his new short story collection, Four From Left Field. Perry, his wife Victoria and their young daughter Grace live in the Pacific Northwest, and you can read more of his work at www.perryperkinsbooks.com.
Now, I love watching Man vs Food, and I love good barbeque, but this one is a bit much, even for me. About halfway through these I start asking myself, “What’s the point of making a sandwich that can’t be picked up?”
I mean, I could put a packer brisket between two burger buns and call it a “sandwich” right?
So, is this excessive BBQ or just silly sensationalism…your thoughts?