By Greg Rodriguez, co-owner of Dog Day Spice Rub with his wife Kerry.
As someone who enjoys the outdoors I have ample opportunity to cook a variety of meats and vegetables on my grill(s). There are all kinds of “grills” out there.
You may think, is my grill really good enough? You may be thinking that you don’t have one of those fancy dancy thousand dollar grills. A lot of you and many of my friends have the $200 gas grill from the local hardware store. Maybe it’s an old three-burner Charbroiler or a rusted out Aussie charcoal grill. Don’t toss those into the BBQ graveyard just yet. In fact, by the time I am done here, you may have a change of heart about that old faithful grill of yours.
I will start by saying this, I am not sponsored, nor do I have any ownership in any of the companies I want to talk about. The products I am going to mention are ones that have worked for me over the past few years with a variety of grills.
The most important thing to any BBQ, grill or smoker is to keep it clean. BBQ’s and Grills should be emptied of all ash, burnt food particles, drip pans, etc. All of that affects air flow and taste. If you have a piece of crusty Salmon stuck to your grill and you’re making burgers you’re in for a fishy tasting burger. Invest is a sturdy grill brush!
On the other hand, if you have a well-seasoned smoker leave the sides alone. Clean out the ash, food particles and grease. If you have exposed rust on the interior or exterior of any grill use a metal brush and scrape it off. Get a can of high temperature BBQ spray paint and repaint the rusted surface.
One of the most popular grills out there is the Weber Kettle. The kettle is most commonly found in the 22.5” size followed by the 18.5”. I will say that the 22.5” is the backbone of BBQ. Everyone should have one of these in their arsenal. The number one improvement, in my opinion for this BBQ would be to upgrade the grill itself. You can run out to your local hardware store and get a replacement Weber grill for about $20-$30 that will get it back to stock condition.
But WAIT…can I make a suggestion? As times change so does technology. The best thing for the Weber since sliced bread has got to be GrillGrates (grillgrate.com). They are made of Aircraft Grade Aluminum that you can buy fitted for the Weber grill. But if you have multiple grills you can buy them in sections that can be moved between grills. These devices are fantastic! All you have to do when you get them is fire your grill up (gas or charcoal) set these on top of your old rusted grill and you’re back in action. Having the ability to make restaurant grade sear marks with absolutely no flare ups is awesome; the days of burnt meat are history. Whatever size you get they can be moved to any of your grills. The GrillGrate also takes hot spots on the grill and disperses them.
Another item to look at for your Weber kettle grill is a Smoke EZ attachment (www.smoke-ez.com). It turns your regular 22.5” Kettle into a smoking/slow cooking unit. With the attachment you can hang ribs, sausage, etc. from the hanging rack the unit comes with. This allows for long periods of cooking at lower temps with a lot of smoke.
If you want to kick the BBQ to the curb than all means do so. However, before doing that weigh your options and know there are solutions to many of the cosmetic and basic functionality problems you might face.
Greg Rodriguez is co-owner of Dog Day Spice Rub along with his wife Kerry. Greg has a son named Wyatt and continues to explore the great outdoors with Wyatt and Kerry.
Blue Cheese, Bacon Wrapped Deer Medallions
8 deer back strap Medallions cut 1 ½ inches thick ( Beef Top Sirloin)
8 pieces of thick cut peppered bacon
8 tbsp crumbled blue cheese, room temperature
3 tbsp Panko bread crumbs
Dog Day Spice Rub 3 Knucklehead Rub or your favorite steak seasoning
Tooth picks that have been soaked in water for 10 minutes
Prepare the deer medallions by removing all silver skin. Lay each of the 8 medallions flat on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife cut a small pocket into the medallion without cutting all the way through, similar to a Pita Pocket. Mix the blue cheese with the Panko to make a paste. Stuff about 1 tbsp of blue cheese paste into each of the 8 medallions. Use one piece of bacon per medallion and wrap around the edge, covering the slit in the meat with the center of the bacon piece. Use a tooth pick to secure the bacon to the meat. Season each medallion on both sides with your choice of seasoning (obviously I favor the 3 Knucklehead Rub!).
Prepare a hot charcoal BBQ or a gas grill on high. With each medallion, set bacon side down on the grill for about 15 seconds then roll the medallion every 15 seconds until all sides are slightly cooked then set aside. Once all 8 medallions are slightly cooked return all 8 to the grill and cook on one side 3 minutes then flip, cooking the opposite side another 3 minutes and remove from the grill and enjoy! If you prefer a more well done medallion leave on the heat for a couple more minutes on each side.