Australian seafood skewers, soft shell crab, and my first video

Yesterday I did a Facebook poll asking: what should I do for Memorial Day weekend? The overwhelming response was seafood, and quite a few indicated the soft shell crabs were hitting the market.

So I decided not only to do soft shell crabs, but also Australian seafood skewers, and corn on the cob.

Then I decided now is the perfect time for the first video from The Grilling Man.

Let me know what you think!



Valentine’s Day Grilling Man Style

When it comes time for Valentine’s Day, I stay far away from the restaurants. Why? Many restaurants jack up their prices just a bit for the night, knowing that it’s a full house. On top of that, there are many amateur eaters that go out that night and you hear things like “Do you have any A-1 sauce?” as the dry aged bone in rib eye (cooked well done) hits the table.

This year, I decided to do a Grilling Man Crawfish Boil and Barbie.

I found a box of frozen crawfish for sale at a local food mega-store in a down and out part of town. Oddly, I’ve never seen a box of crawfish for sale at the suburban or higher end shops. I don’t know why, because they are healthy and delicious (and also a bit of a pain in the ass when it come to fishing out the few bits of meat they contain).


Get your hands on some crawfish. For three of us, I used a four pound box and that seemed like a pretty good amount. Figure roughly a pound per person. If you can’t find crawfish in your area, you can mail order (both fresh and frozen) here, here, and believe it or not through Amazon here.

Get the biggest pot you have and fill it about 3/4 with water. Place on the stove and get it to boiling. Go outside and get a medium heat offset fire going on your charcoal grill (about 3/4 of a starter chimney).

Have at the ready (amounts are for four pounds crawfish, adjust as needed):

  • A big supply of Old Bay Seasoning. You’ll need about a cup in the end.
  • Four ears of sweet corn, each cut in half (end up with eight minis)
  • Four sweet onions, chopped in half
  • Four pounds red potatoes
  • Four to six links high quality and super yummy andouille sausage (my source is Kramarczuk’s – some of the best sausages in the country). Slice them into two inch sections and if you want to look cool slice them on the bias.
If you’re using cooked frozen crawfish: Add 3/4 of the Old Bay to the boiling water. Add the potatoes and cook for three minutes. Add the corn, onions, sausage, and crawfish and let them cook for another three minutes. Note this is not enough time to cook everything through and that’s intentional. Drain everything and place in a large aluminum pan. If you are starting with live crawfish, be sure to read about preparing them ahead of time and boil them in a separate pot until done, at which point add them to the corn-onion-sausage mix.In the aluminum pan, dust everything with the remaining Old Bay Seasoning.Here is where the grilling and bbq comes in: Bring the pan outside and place offset on the grill (i.e. not directly over the heat). Add one or two chunks of apple or mesquite to the coals, and put the lid back on your grill as best as possible (your pan may be too big and that’s okay, just balance the grill lid on the pan). The goal here is to get huge amounts of smoke infusion into the food, as well as finish the cooking process.

Keep the pan on the grill for about 15 minutes, building up smoke along with some heat to finish off the cooking process. (Note the pan itself is uncovered, but we use the lid of the grill to contain the heat and smoke.)

Stir every five minutes (but stir gently, trying to avoid breaking off the cute little legs of the crawdads).

Mrs. Grilling Man ready to enjoy a meal

When ready to serve it’s as simple as placing the pan on the table, and having lots of picks, forks, and paper towels nearby.  To do it right, be sure to put some Buckwheat Zydeco on the the playlist and crank the volume.

It’s a grand meal that works great for a crowd. Let me know what you think.

The perfect meat rub for grilling and barbecue

One of the many secrets top notch grilling and barbecue chefs have is the use of the “rub”, or the combination of dry spices added to meat just far enough ahead of cooking to impart some wicked flavor.

There are endless great rub recipes out there, including the legendary Mike Mills’ “Magic Dust” which has won him numerous barbecue awards.  Buy any book on grilling and barbecue and you’ll be inundated by hundreds of ideas for the ideal rub.

In March of 2003, I developed what I consider my ‘baseline’ rub, otherwise known as our “family rub” because my then seven year son, my wife, and I all enjoyed it equally.  It doesn’t have the big spike of heat of so many of today’s rubs, which I like because think about it — you want more heat?  Add more cayenne.  Simple as that.

One thing I like to do is write rub recipes in ‘parts’ rather than teaspoons or tablespoons.  It makes producing a huge batch far easier, and also allows for a faster process … just grab a spoon (or a quarter cup measuring cup!) out of your drawer and you’re ready to go.

Feel free to adjust to your own taste

2 parts    Kosher Salt
1 part      Spanish Paprika
1 part      Garlic Powder (not garlic salt!)
2 parts    Chili Powder
1/2 pt.     Cayenne
1 part      Brown Sugar
1 part      Onion Powder
1/2 pt.     Ground Mustard
1 part      Fresh Ground Pepper
1/2 pt.     Dried Oregano
1/2 pt.     Dried Sage

Mix well in bowl, incorporating all ingredients.  Stores well in a tight jar for up to two months.

Using the rub the right way
The thing about rubs is, honestly, they are overused.  They are often used heavily to cover defects in the quality of the meat, or applied too early and thus becomes too penetrative to the flavor.  The rub should, in the end, balance the flavors, not become the flavors.

Pork ribs: I like a fine dusting on the ribs 3-4 hours before starting to smoke them.  Anything more, and due to the salt it dries out the ribs and changes their flavors.

Steaks: If you dust the meat about an hour before cooking, you’ll be in good shape.

Beef roasts: This is where you can leave it on for a bit.  Dust the meat the night before cooking for good penetration.

This rub works well on everything: fish, lamb, popcorn, you name it.  At my house it’s always within reach and always enjoyed.  Let me know what you think.


A beautiful aged rib eye

Dry aging your own meat is easy and should be done with all beef cuts in my opinion.  Place on an elevated rack over a cookie sheet, and place in the fridge, uncovered, for 3-5 days.  If you have a dedicated meat refrigerator (and if you don’t you should) snake a little fan in there to keep the air circulating. The cut will lose 10-20% of its mass and up to 15% of its weight … all in the form of water content that leaves the meat tasting even better.