“Grilling takes the formality out of entertaining. Everyone wants to get involved.”

Bobby Flay

This is my second year going to Price Chopper House of BBQ Grilling Class and each year, I learn so much more about not only grilling but little tidbits of buying meat, but Certified Angus Beef Executive Chef Michael Ollier teaches how to prepare it and terrific recipes to make with it. As it was last year, this grilling class was hosted by the Century House (997 New Loudon Rd, Latham) on June 12th.

Last year, we learned the differences between the USDA grades: Prime, Choice and Select. If you cut the meat against the grain, you’ll end up with a more tender piece and my favorite part was if you have 2 parts butter and 1 part beef fat, you then have Bacon Butter aka. the greatest culinary invention I’ve heard of. Check out a slideshow of some of the pictures I took last year:

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This year, we started off with a presentation from Jodie Fitz from the Price Chopper Kids’ Cooking Club. If you sign up at pricechopper.com to get three recipes each month to try at home that are easy enough to do with your kids. You can also keep up-to-date as to where Jodie will be doing Kids Cooking Club presentations live! This is also a good idea to join if you’re new to cooking because you’ll get easy recipes to start off with while you’re still learning knife skills before you start cooking the harder stuff. That day, Jodie demonstrated a Grilled Veggie Medley.

The plus side with a veggie medley is that though Jodie gave you some examples of some vegetables to add, you can always sub things out for vegetables you like better.

Grilled Veggie Medley1 small eggplant

1 red bell pepper

1 orange bell pepper

1 yellow squash

1 zucchini squash

1 asparagus bunch

1 Vidalia onion

½ cup light olive oil

1 clove garlic, large

1 ½ tsp. onion powder

¾ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. coarse pepper

Using a garlic press, add the garlic to the oil. Stir it together and set the mixture aside. Remove and discard the ends of the eggplant. Slice the eggplant and cut the slices in half. Soak the eggplant pieces in salt water while you are preparing the remainder of the vegetables.

Wash the bell peppers, remove the seeds and slice then into long strips. Wash the zucchini and yellow squashes. Remove and discard the ends. Slice them and cute the slices in half. Wash the asparagus. Remove the bottom ends and set aside.

Remove the skin of the onion. Slice it in half and then continue to cut slides. Separate the pieces. Drain the water from the eggplant and pat the pieces dry.

Toss all of the vegetables together in a large bowl. Add the onion powder, salt and pepper to the oil and whisk the ingredients together. Toss the vegetables with the oil mixture until they are evenly coated. Grill the vegetables over medium heat in a vegetable grill pan for approx. 25 minutes turning them periodically throughout the cooking process.

I love vegetables but I couldn’t wait until Chef Michael started cooking the steak. The most important thing to remember about steak, well maybe not the most important but something very important to remember about steak is to get the highest quality possible of ingredients. How do you know you have a good steak? Check out the marbling and think of that marbling as flavor indicators. The little white flecks within the steak end up melting and baste the steak as it cooks and that’s where all that delicious steak-y flavor lives. The way I feel is if you bought a great steak and cooked it well, aside from salt and pepper (and a light rub to change it up from time to time) you shouldn’t need steak sauce for flavor or juice.

Price Chopper gave us a little booklet handout that gives an acronym to remember how to cook the best steak. S- start with a hot grill to lock in those delicious juices. PCHOBBQ2013-1If you have juice all over your plate, steak wasn’t hot enough or you didn’t let it sit. T- turn steaks gently with tongs, never pierce with a fork but remember E- Ensure juiciness by flipping steaks only once. A- Assess doneness with an instant read thermometer. Rare is approx. 140 degrees, medium rare is approx. 145 degrees, medium is approx. 160 degrees and well is approx. 170 degrees. K- Keep food safety in mind, wash anything that comes in contact with red meat. S- set steaks aside to rest s few minutes before serving to keep the juices inside.

After all the talk about how to grill, the best ways to grill and grilling tips that were all appreciated it was finally time to smell some food cooking! He started by explaining a chimichurri sauce, a sauce for grilled meat, and Chef Michael explained that this particular sauce could be used with any kind of steak, have it be NY strip, porterhouse, filet, etc.

Grilled Steak with Red Chimichurri Sauce2 pounds Certified Angus Beef top sirloin London broil or flank steak

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

½ cup sherry or red wine vinegar

½ cup olive oil

Coarse kosher salt to taste

In a food processor or blender, combine cilantro, onion, garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes, vinegar and oil by pulsing to a finely chopped consistency. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Cut steak into ribbons, approx. 1-inch wide by 3-inches long .Skewer ribbons onto high-heat-safe skewers using an “S” or “C” shape, depending on length. Season evenly with salt and pepper.

Preheat grill or oven to high. Grill or roast over high heat to medium doneness. (If using the oven, use a roasting pan in such a way that skewers are suspended across the edge of the pan with beef over the middle). Turn at least once during cooking to ensure even doneness. Remove from heat and serve with sauce.

It had a little bit of a kick to it that went very well with the steak but if you’d rather something a little less spicy, use the red pepper flakes sparingly (if at all). Next he brought out the rum and I knew this could only go really well, time for the mojito sauce. Chef Michael first grilled some fruit and my personal favorite was the grilled peach- wow! He said that if you plan on grilling them, make sure they’re not quite ripe, it makes it sturdier to grill and ends up bringing out more flavor.

Mojito Sauce2 limes

1 ½ oz. mint leaves, minced (1 ½ cup loosely packed)

1 ½ oz. basil leaves, minced (1 ½ cup loosely packed)

¼ cup coconut cream

¼ cup light rum

2 tbsp. honey **

Zest and juice limes; put into blender. Add mint, basil, coconut cream, run and honey.

**Optional: Instead of honey, make fresh ginger simple syrup—Combine ½ cup each water and sugar in a saucepan with a 2 inch piece of peeled ginger, sliced. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cool, strain ginger. Use ¼ cup in the recipe.

 They added this sauce to grilled fruits over some vanilla bean ice cream. PCOFBBQ2013-2Something I never thought about doing but can’t wait to try myself. Finally, we got to eat.  I remember getting more food last year so I ended up leaving the event pretty hungry (it went until about 8:30PM) but the food was delicious. The event itself is only $10 and the knowledge and first-hand experience you get about grilling makes this worth every penny.

How often do you grill? Is there a rub that you like in particular? Price Chopper has plenty of rubs available to you for free if you’re interested. Hopefully I’ll see you at this event next year, be sure to follow Price Chopper on Facebook or sign up for their emails to keep up to date with events they have going on, like this one!

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