What a great way to spend a summer afternoon: learning how to cook a complete meal on the grill from the masters at Pork Barrel BBQ.
The grilling demo was part of the Wagshal’s Market 2010 Grill Masters Series. A gourmet market and delicatessen in the Spring Valley neighborhood of D.C., Wagshal’s supplies the meat and seafood used by Pork Barrel BBQ when they’re out smokin’ the competition on the BBQ circuit. They are also the exclusive distributor of Iberico pork – some of the world’s best pork that comes from a Spanish breed of acorn-fed pigs.
Heath begins the demo with some Grilled Rosemary Lemon Poussin (a young chicken around 4 weeks old at slaughter).
Grilled Lemonade coming our way:
GRILLED lemonade?! How the heck does one grill lemonade? The lemons are sliced in half and grilled before juicing. Mixed with a little rosemary-infused simple syrup, the grilled lemonade was, for me, the highlight of the demo (and I don’t even like lemonade because it’s usually sickeningly sweet). This unexpected twist on a classic summer drink would make a killer cocktail mixed with some Firefly Vodka (distilled in my home state of South Carolina). Heath also suggested using it for margaritas. Yes, please.
Proving that grilling isn’t just for carnivorous types like me, the menu featured a vegetarian option: Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille. You won’t have any trouble eating your vegetables when they’re prepared like this: rubbed with olive oil and a little Pork Barrel All-American Spice Rub, then grilled, chopped and mixed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs.
No summer meal is complete without a great dessert featuring fresh, seasonal fruit. During the making of this dessert, a strong gust of wind picked up the tent and nearly sent everything crashing to the ground, summer disaster movie-style. The Wagshal’s team rushed to secure the tent and the dessert prep continued.
“The important thing is that the grill was not harmed.”
The best part about this dessert is its versatility (oh – and it’s also insanely good and you don’t have to feel guilty about eating it). When someone in the audience asked why they brushed the peaches with vegetable oil and not olive oil before grilling, the ideas started rolling. Vegetable oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil, explained Heath and Brett, but you could experiment with different oils such as hazelnut oil, walnut oil, or avocado oil. You could also use any kind of stone fruit or pineapple and whatever berries you have on hand. They suggested grilling the fruit just before serving and the entire dessert comes together in just a few minutes.
After the event, we chatted with Brett about the new Pork Barrel BBQ restaurant set to open this September in Del Ray. Secret Agent Man and I have long believed that Del Ray is desperately in need of a good bar – a place you can meet friends for a beer, watch a game and also have a great meal. Pork Barrel BBQ sounds like it will fit this bill (and hopefully they’ll be serving some version of a Grilled Lemonade Cocktail:)
We also scored some Pork Barrel t-shirts (thank you, Brett!) which we’ll wear with pride at Gold’s Gym when we’re working hard to earn our BBQ.
Brett also talked up Wagshal’s famous beef brisket sandwich. (You can read more about it in this Washington Post article.) Our two $5 Wagshal’s coupons were burning holes in our pockets, so we took Brett’s advice and went to check out the Market and the Deli.
The tomato cucumber salad I got left much to be desired, but the sandwich did not disappoint. Secret Agent Man was kind enough to offer me a bite and I gladly accepted it about 15 seconds after I took this photo:
Thanks to Wagshal’s and Pork Barrel BBQ for all the good eats and grilling tips! The summer grilling season is off to a great start.
The complete menu:
Pork Barrel BBQ’s Grilled Rosemary Lemon Poussin